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VineAccess® finalist in FarmBis Training Awards
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The 2008 South Australian FarmBis Training Awards were held on Friday, 20 June 2008 to recognise and celebrate those training providers achieving excellence in the provision of courses to primary producers and land managers. Amongst the finalists was Morton Blacketer, the company behind VineAccess® — the viticulture portal for wineries and growers.
Morton Blacketer launched VineAccess® in 2004 and has supported the program’s implementation through providing hands on Internet and online skills training to improve user dexterity. Training course participants undertaking the VineAccess® ‘Grape Marketing and Spray Diary Management’ course have included wine grape growers and vineyard managers.
Each participant has been able to learn new skills to record spray diary information quickly and easily, using the online VineAccess® tools. Upon completing the course, they can continue to use the VineAccess® portal to record and share their spray information with winery customers. Through a single logon, they can update, copy, record and amend their spray diary, and automatically check chemical applications. Inappropriate chemical use is flagged and can be addressed, allowing for both improved environmental management and food safety management and reporting.
Each participant can also benefit from an improvement in their business record keeping too — the accuracy and speed of their reporting and, therefore, the reliability of this information shared throughout the viticulture supply chain. These outcomes have been identified through involving the wine industry, region and immediate target market in course and product design, and ensuring that each course undertaken reviews feedback from each session.
Morton Blacketer has implemented a number of measures to increase participation and adoption of new practices learnt during the course. These include:
Including those winery staff who liaise with wine grape growers in training sessions Winery grower liaison and operations staff are invited to participate in the training. This enables the grower and winery to share their requirements and concerns and clarify reporting. It also demonstrates to growers that their customers support skills development and an improvement in the reporting relationship between parties.
Encourage growers to bring along a partner or child for support Morton Blacketer found that often the principal’s wife or children did their computer work and record keeping. Acknowledging this, Morton Blacketer encouraged growers to bring their ‘back office’ support person to the training session.
Provision of a computer and Internet at the training session The training was usually held at a regional TAFE so that each participant could be provided with a computer and Internet access for the training session. Instead of watching a trainer demonstrate ‘how to’, participants could develop skills first hand, in class. Participants could be assisted with progress on the system in real time. The training session also provided the opportunity for TAFE to promote their own development programs and introduce participants to their local facility where they could access other skills improvement programs.
Set up of grower registration, farm and block data A company registration, using their own farm and block data, was set up for each participant online before the training session began. This meant that, once they were shown how to logon, they were then working with ‘real’ information. This ensured greater relevance, interest and skill retention.
Continued access to a computer/Internet in their region Some of the wineries that encouraged their growers to undertake ‘Grape Marketing and Spray Diary Management’ training now provide a computer with Internet access for local growers to use at their weighbridge. They are also on hand at the weighbridge to provide growers with assistance.