Cyprus staff training
Quality assurance practice
The vine and wine sector in Cyprus changed dramatically after the accession of Cyprus to the European Union. Before accession, the sector survived mainly on the basis of subsidies and consequently little attention was paid to the quality of wine. After accession and following the merger of many local wineries the quality of wine became the dominant issue and priority. The objective of the wine community in Cyprus is to gain access to new markets as well as to increase their share of existing markets.
Quintessence Enterprises Ltd set out to address the need of the wine sector and organised a series of seminars on the whole spectrum of wine science and practice, e.g. viticulture, winemaking and wine marketing. This sector-based training was supported by the Wine Product Council (WPC) which is the accredited Inspection Body for the vineyards and wineries industry.
Each seminar included a two day course in a conference room, where the theory and science of each topic was discussed and company based training where the expert(s) visited each company to discuss individual needs. After each visit a report on improved practice was prepared and given to the companies. Quintessence Enterprises Ltd also organised a national conference on wine making and good wine making practices where more than 30 experts participated.
The approach to Quality Assurance
Quintessence Enterprises Ltd was approved as a Continuous Vocational Education and Training (CVET) provider by Cyprus’ Human Resource Development Authority in 2002. Since then almost 5000 certificates for training seminars have been issued. Quintessence Enterprises Ltd’s certificates are recognised by the Competent Authorities as offering the required competency. Quintessence Enterprises Ltd operates in line with ISO9000 and all the requirements of ISO17024 which covers personal competence are met. Each seminar is evaluated by attendees and the results used for the continuous improvement of the CVET processes. The results of each assessment are posted on the website of Quintessence Enterprises Ltd.
One significant challenge for a new CVET provider is understanding how best to manage relationships with the Authorities. As a new VET provider it is important to convince the Authorities about the integrity and reliability of provision and explain how training can exceed expectations. It is also important to have a deep understanding of the markets and customers where CVET is provided. In an era of ready-made knowledge managers, shareholders and staff in a VET provider need to be creative and innovative. Individuals and organisations need to be well educated and trained so as to create consistently high quality VET provision.
The benefits to learners
It takes time to see the impact of effective training. The result of training and in-company visits to vineyards and wineries has been an improvement in the quality of the product as measured by sensory analysis in wine competitions organised by the Wine Product Council of. Since 2006, when Quintessence Enterprises Ltd started organising training courses to the industry, the quality of wine has steadily improved.