Ningxia aims to be wine talent hub

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Ningxia is to establish a specialist vocational college to train an ‘all-round’ young generation of wine professionals ‘from planting to winemaking’.

Image: vineyards at the foot of Helan Mountain, Ningxia © Andrew Jefford

The new vocational college, which includes a secondary vocational school and an advanced vocational school, will ‘integrate’ the existing teaching resources in the autonomous region, and allow its students to proceed to undergraduate and postgraduate study in wine, announced Ningxia government last week.

Widely regarded as one of the top quality wine producing regions in China, Ningxia is increasingly thirsty of specialised talent to accommodate to the rapid growth of its rising wine industry.

The enrolment of students to the Wine College under the University of Ningxia was 109 in 2013, its year of establishment; the number doubled in 2014, according to the university.

‘We hope that people will think of Ningxia not only for quality wines, but also for winemaking specialist talents,’ Liu Hui, Chairwoman of Ningxia Autonomous region, was reported to have told Xinhua news agency.

Currently there are six educational institutions in Ningxia offering specialise courses related to viticulture and oenology, training 302 undergraduate students, 315 advanced vocational school-level students and 577 secondary vocational school-level students.

However, ‘these institutions are constantly short in teachers and equipment and lack of R&D resources, and are not cooperating with the local business well enough,’ said officials, ‘also different levels of education are not connected.’

The new college, however, will seek to ‘integrate’ the teaching forces, said the local government.

Four majors, including viticulture and winemaking, mechanical engineering, are to be opened for the secondary vocational school, while five majors, including grape cultivation management and oenology engineering, are to be set up for the advanced level, official said.

Graduates from the vocational college, through examinations, can proceed to undergraduate education in the University of Ningxia, according to the local government.

A total of 1240 students (760 for advanced vocational school and 480 for secondary vocational school) are expected to enrol to the new vocational college in autumn this year, reported local media Ningxia News.

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