“Critical” wine industry courses return to TAFE NSW Griffith

Laboratory operations courses providing technical skills for winemakers are being re-introduced at TAFE NSW Griffith after a 10-year hiatus.

A Certificate III in Laboratory Skills and a Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques are now being offered at TAFE NSW Griffith, while a Diploma of Laboratory Technology will be offered for the first time in 2025.

De Bortoli Wines human resource manager, Paul Foley, said the business was pleased to see the re-introduction of the laboratory courses.

“The absence of suitable technical training for our laboratory staff has been a major concern for our business over the past few years,” said Foley.

“With the availability of these programs on our doorstep, we are in a far better position to expand the technical depth and breadth of capability within our workforce, the broader industry and the local community.

“We look forward to our staff engaging in these programs to assist us in meeting the ever growing technical, compliance and reporting challenges in the wine industry.”

Griffith is at the heart of New South Wales’ largest producing wine region, responsible for about 60 per cent of the state’s total grape crush.

Laboratory operations courses provide technical skills winemakers need to accurately measure, test and report on wine properties – critical components of the complex wine making process.

The re-introduction of the courses follows extensive consultation with the local wine industry and demonstrates how TAFE NSW is meeting the skills needs of local industries and communities.

Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education, Steve Whan, said his previous roles as Minister for Primary Industries, CEO of the National Irrigators’ Council and director of Murrumbidgee Irrigation have provided him with insight into the “critical importance” of the wine industry.

“Like many industries, wineries in Griffith are struggling to attract and retain qualified staff and these courses at TAFE NSW Griffith will ensure a pipeline of qualified laboratory technicians, ready to enter the workforce and meet industry demand,” said Whan.

“This is yet another example of how the NSW Government is rebuilding TAFE NSW and supporting the industries and communities it serves.”

TAFE NSW Griffith also offers a Certificate III in Wine Industry Operations, and a laboratory skills course will be offered to local high school students in 2025.

Former laboratory manager and winemaker at Casella Wines, Nichole Clarke, has joined TAFE NSW to teach the courses, utilising her industry knowledge and connections to give learners the job-ready skills and experience to gain employment.

An industry-standard laboratory is located at TAFE NSW Griffith, including a microbiology room and a chemical preparation room.

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