Plumpton College has been awarded the highest National Honour in education, a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its work in wine education and wider impact on the English and Welsh wine sector. Granted every two years by the reigning Monarch, the Prizes celebrate excellence, innovation and benefit for the wider world in Further and Higher Education.
Chair of Governors Julie Dougill and Principal Jeremy Kerswell attended an event at StJames’s Palace by kind permission of His Majesty the King on Thursday evening, where the Prizes were officially announced by the Royal Anniversary Trust.
The Prize recognises the work of Plumpton College as the sole innovator and developer of industry-led training and education programmes supporting growth and sustainability of the English wine industry since 1985. This progressive employer-college partnership has grown from foundation and degree programmes to an offer including a Master’s programme, industry CPD and, more recently, introductory-level wine academies and apprenticeships.
Responding to employer demand for a production process to develop a high-quality English wine, the college’s own vineyard and winery has always been at the forefront of producing internationally award-winning sparkling wines. This resultant expertise, developed amongst Plumpton College graduates, has led the way to create a real competitor to champagne and other sparkling wines.
Subsequently, through continual close working with wine employers and employer-representative bodies, programmes have been regularly reviewed and updated through the college’s advisory panels with industry to ensure they meet the sectors emerging technical and business needs. Currently, over 95% of wineries and vineyards across the UK employ staff who have been trained and educated at the college.
“I am delighted to accept this most prestigious award, not only on behalf of Plumpton College, but for all those who have been part of this journey, and those who continue to shape our curriculum today,” Principal Jeremy Kerswell shared. “It’s a story that has been 40 years in the making but is now more important than ever before. Plumpton College continues to meet the needs of the industry by providing sector-leading graduates, with the right skills for sustained growth within the UK’s wine sector and beyond through our vast alumni network.”
This is the fifteenth round of the scheme. There were over 100 entries this round and just twenty-two institutions were awarded a Prize. Winners will be presented with a medal and certificate at a formal Honours ceremony in February 2024.
“This is a very proud moment for all of us who are and have been involved with the development of Plumpton Wine Division,” said Sam Linter, Director of Plumpton Wine Division. “The culmination of more than 35 years as the UK’s Centre of Excellence in wine education, research and training has been the driving force to lead us to this incredible point in contributing and supporting this innovative and progressive industry.”