Students from New Zealand’s newest brewing course will soon have access to an exclusive work experience opportunity: to put their palates to the test as associate judges at one of the country’s largest beer and cider awards.
The new scholarship for select students from Otago Polytechnic’s Central Otago-based brewing certificate programme was announced at the New World Beer & Cider Awards judging in Wellington.
The offer will see up to two students each year given a place at the New World Beer & Cider Awards judging tables, including covering the costs of their travel and accommodation so they can learn the ropes of beer judging from some of the country’s most respected experts.
The awards programme already includes the unique opportunity for New World team members to act as associate judges, upskilling their beer and cider knowledge to share with customers and staff.
Chair of Judges for the awards, Michael Donaldson, expects the scholarship slots to be extremely sought-after, and not just because the ‘work experience’ involves tasting between 40 and 50 beers per day.
“Many of our senior judges have worked in the industry for years before moving into judging, so getting the chance to do this early on in your training is pretty special. Our collaborative approach to beer judging also makes for a great learning environment for up-and-coming talent, and we are all pleased to be able to give a little back to the industry in this way.”
He says while judging is always fun, it’s also fast-paced and carries the responsibility of critiquing products into which brewers have put their hearts and souls.
“Judges have to have the sensory skills as well as a way with words to capture what they experience with each entry. While their scores do not count towards the final results, they are a critical part of the table, contributing to the discussion and keeping notes.”
Brewing Lecturer Geoff Collie says the scholarship is a great fit with Otago Polytechnic’s approach to the new training courses – New Zealand’s first ever suite of NZQA-approved brewing qualifications, which have been crafted to meet industry needs and support practical learning.
In addition to theory, students will also be getting their hands dirty at Rough Rock Brewing Co, the brand-new commercial brewery-come-classroom at Bannockburn, Central Otago, which comprises an important and distinctive part of the courses.
“We are offering a flipped model of education. What this means is that students need to come to class having pre-studied the topic, to contribute to a higher level of learning.”
“As the first suite of brewing qualifications in New Zealand, it is the best opportunity for a career pathway into the industry. Our aim? To craft the brewers of the future.”
The New Zealand Certificate in Brewing (Level 4) welcomed its first intake of students in February this year. The full-time one-year programme has been designed for those with a passion for brewing who want to get into the industry or are seeking to enhance their knowledge and skills.
Learners can build on those skills via the six-month Level 5 New Zealand Certificate in Brewing, and a one-year New Zealand Diploma in Brewing (Level 6), both of which are offered via CapableNZ and suit those already working in the industry.
A joint panel will select the first New World Beer & Cider Awards scholarship recipients against key criteria from students in the 2019 Level 4 course, who will join in the 2020 judging event.