Work-based training fosters positive culture at Indevin

11 Apr 2024

Offering work-based training opportunities at its vineyards and wineries is key to attracting more people to work in the viticulture industry, according to Aotearoa’s largest grower and producer of New Zealand wine, Indevin Group.


Apprentices from left: Kaleb Hare, Lucas Westend, Daniell Hare

Indevin Group has access to more than 20% New Zealand’s total grape supply, growing ten grape varieties across 4000ha in Marlborough, Hawkes Bay, and Gisborne, and wineries in those regions.

The company is involved in global wine supply and partnerships, which service the world's largest retailers, and has a consumer brand portfolio which includes the Villa Maria trademark and several others.

Tim Henry is the vineyard manager of Indevin’s Gisborne vineyard and has been involved in training team members for over 20 years. Currently three of his employees are learning toward the Primary ITO New Zealand Apprenticeship in Horticulture Production (Wine Growing) a new programme.

Indevin offers viticulturalists work-based training at all its vineyards, with the support of experienced staff. Tim says the company feels a responsibility to pass on that knowledge and competencies for the future success of the industry.

“We need to provide these opportunities to new people coming in who will take over when the current generation of experience moves on to retirement.”


Work-based training fosters positive culture

Indevin also values having a mix of experience in the team and fostering a positive learning environment in the workplace.

Having learners working toward the Primary ITO apprenticeship in horticulture production supports this, and the goal is to have every learner succeed.

“My experience is that many people I work with here may not have found their future pathway at school. We find ways to help them so they can achieve.”

Setting aside time to support learners is important, he says, and experienced team members also enjoy the opportunity to show leadership.

“Our managers and teams proactively lead and teach the younger members and that is where I see the future of keeping people in the industry.”


“Everyone makes mistakes, but the best way to learn is to have someone leading from the front. With that environment the learners definitely strive, and the culture becomes very strong.”

Learners and employers are supported by a Primary ITO training advisor with regular contact and site visits to discuss the work and plan future modules. A learning support team and mentors are available to learners who require additional support.

Supportive learning environment

Primary ITO Training Advisor Wayne West says Indevin is an example of an employer who is invested in growing the skills of team members and providing opportunities for them to learn and advance.

“We support the company by providing an encouraging environment where learners can succeed. We want them to have a positive experience so they can build confidence and knowledge and ultimately achieve a qualification.”

The Wine Growing Level 3 and 4 programme, which covers seasonal growing tasks, operating vineyard equipment, implementing sustainable wine growing operations and supervising and leading teams, exposes learners to aspects and challenges of the industry and prepares them for their next step.

“Once qualified they can take a promotion in the industry, or transfer to another area and grow their career and experience,” says Wayne.

Indevin Gisborne partners with Gisborne Boys’ High School to give students vineyard work experience, and employs school leavers and university students during the summer holidays and busy season.

Its three current New Zealand Apprenticeship in Horticulture Apprenticeship (Wine Growing) learners began their career in wine growing with school holiday jobs but chose other careers before returning to Indevin. Now they love what they do.

Learners feel supported

Lucas Westend started out leaf plucking and mowing at Indevin in his holidays, later completing the New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture Level 2 and 3 and gaining experience in farming before returning to Indevin in 2020.

“I came back because I enjoyed operating tractors and fencing and there were opportunities here to continue that. Back here I really enjoyed the maintenance work and wire lifting, fixing wires and replacing posts with the grape work.”

He started the Primary ITO apprenticeship to further his knowledge and is enjoying learning about soils, plant development and the process from grape to wine production. “It leads on from what I studied in agriculture, and I love learning off those who have been here many years and have a lot of experience.”

Twin brothers Kaleb and Daniell Hare both returned to Indevin after taking different career paths after leaving school.

Kaleb lost his carpentry job due to Covid 19 in 2020 and then took the vineyard job. He likes the variety of work and building skills in new areas which keeps it interesting.

“It is easy to learn because there are knowledgeable people here who teach us, and it is a positive culture so that keeps you feeling supported.”

Apprencticeship provides career pathway

Kaleb says working toward the qualification is giving him a career pathway, proof that he has skills, and means he can show initiative rather than rely on others to direct him in his job.

Daniell had a stint at blueberry picking and other casual work before Kaleb suggested he get a job at Indevin. Once he had settled into vineyard work Tim suggested he take Primary ITO apprenticeship. “It was a no brainer to take the opportunity because we will get so much out of it.”

He says the learning has developed his interest in wine growing and he now has goals to one day work in management or teaching others.

“It has widened what I want to learn and is really just making me more interested in the whole industry. Now I want to see how far I can get with it.”

This story was originally published by PrimaryITO

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