Demand for spirit education ‘higher than ever’, says WSET

4th August, 2017 by Annie Hayes

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) is witnessing “record demand” for its courses, with candidate numbers up by 19% on the previous academic year.

The WSET is witnessing “record demand” for global wine and spirit education

The WSET welcomed a record 85,487 candidates in the academic year finishing 31 July 2017, marking 15 years of growth for the educator.

The UK continued to lead the WSET’s top markets, with candidate numbers up by 14% to reach 19,401.

Mainland China and US followed closely behind, with candidate numbers up by 41% to 12,813 and by 48% to 11,487 respectively.

As consumers increasingly favour more premium brands, the need for knowledgeable staff is “greater than ever” according to the WSTA. This is encouraging businesses to prioritise formal training and accredited qualifications for staff.

“I am delighted to see that more and more businesses are recognising that education and well-trained staff are the foundations to better customer service and stronger profits,” said Ian Harris, WSET chief executive. “After another successful year for WSET we’re now setting out strategies to take our progress to the next level.”

In the last year, the WSET welcomed more than 100 new programme providers, taking the number of approved sites up to 750 across more than 70 countries.

The educator opened its first international office in Hong Kong, and launched courses in new markets including Czech Republic and Montenegro.

Looking ahead, the WSET will be cementing its presence in the US market with the appointment of a dedicated team.

Karen Douglas, WSET director of education, added: “The new academic year will also see the release of an improved Level 2 Award in Spirits following the hard work of our global education team to make sure WSET offers the most up-to-date and best-in-class education through its network of approved programme providers worldwide.”