PYDA Wine & Tourism Graduation 2019 always an inspiration

Every year I think that the PYDA graduation can't possibly be any more inspiring than previous years!  Of course you will find the highest heels you have ever seen and cool socks! In a country filled with bad news, the Pinotage Youth Development Academy are really making significant change as they send their well-educated youth out into the world. There is change, there is transformation and I am also proud that is helping in this regard. As ever, I came away feeling buoyant.

We take on a graduate for 12 months every year, and just seen Jamie-Lee Appolis through her first year with us and having Leroy Matthee join us for his year-long learnership. We already have Yoliswa Masekwana working for us full time in our Content Team, so this is now our 3rd graduate that we are taking on. 

Since inception in 2012, the Pinotage Youth Development Academy has graduated no less than 282 young passionate and hard-working South Africans, who will be our next leaders.

There are plenty of examples of their graduates going great things: Yonela Zondwayo has been working on a cruise ship for most of this year, exploring the world and there is Yolani Kaso who is now at Carolines in the city, so you will find them throughout the winelands and beyond.  #launchingtalent is what it is about.

Kudos to the founders David and Jilly Best of the Cropper Foundation, and David's advice to the graduates was that the top of one mountain is often the bottom of the next mountain, so there are constantly challenges and learnings to be had.  Major thanks and appreciation to Jill and David for envisaging the PYDA. They were inspired years ago by the story of a Fennel Adams, and it has come full circle now with his daughter Deremeaq graduating through the system too.

Wandile Bereng has taken over the chair role from David and I am sure he will steer the ship in the right direction.

The process of taking on just 50 students out of an applicant set of 300 is difficult, and the course is very challenging. It teaches so much more than just wine and wine tourism.  PYDA are building a family, which is clear from the alumni and their relationship built over the years.

As the head of the PYDA, Nikki Munro says ''We live in the most incredible country with the most amazing young people.  We have hope. These youngsters are kick-ass!''

Well done to all who work at the PYDA, it is an extraordinary organisation with plenty of heart.

Good luck to all the 2019 graduates!