Wine from Georgia: Winemaker apprenticeship boosts economic growth

Georgia is not only showcasing its good literature at the Frankfurt Book Fair but its good wines too. We are assisting the Georgian wine sector by promoting dual vocational training courses.

Wine growing is one of the important branches of the Georgian economy: harvesting more than 250 tonnes of grapes a year, the South Caucasus nation is an aspiring viticultural contender. Most of the wine – some 95 per cent – is produced by small farmers. But the country’s economic mainstays of tourism and agriculture lack skilled labour. At the same time, Georgia’s vocational training institutions have not yet reached the point where they can produce workers with the right kind of specialist skills for the national job market profile.

On behalf of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and together with the Georgian Education Ministry, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is therefore compiling dual vocational training programmes for the wine, construction and tourism sectors. 

In cooperation with the private sector, the first completely dual training scheme for wine growers in Georgia was established at the end of 2016. It enables trainees to learn on the job how a modern-day winery works – from tending the grapes to bottling. Working closely with the private sector, up to 15 dual training courses are being developed and successively rolled out in the tourism and construction sectors, too. And they’re proving a real success: young people are keen to enrol and demand is outstripping course capacity. Currently, 110 people are being trained at four vocational training schools. As of November 2018, it is planned to expand the number of places available within existing courses and to launch dual programmes for the construction sector. In all, some 11 new apprenticeship occupations are expected by the end of the year.

Furthermore, GIZ is working together with the University of Magdeburg to roll out a Master’s degree course in the field of vocational training and HR development at four universities in Georgia. In future, these universities will be providing state-of-the art training for vocational teachers and vocational school directors.

Georgia is this year’s guest of honour at Frankfurt's Book Fair. In addition to major works in Georgian literature, Georgian exhibitors will also be showcasing their country’s wines. To promote Georgian-German cooperation, the German-Georgian Business and Cooperation Forum will be convening on 9 October – the opening day of the Fair – with BMZ State Secretary Barthle and the Georgian Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Giorgi Kobulia, in attendance. The forum will give more than 200 German and Georgian private sector representatives an opportunity to learn about doing business in Georgia and a chance to forge initial business contacts. This is great for economic growth and opens up the prospect of new jobs in Georgia.