WSET student numbers soar 12% to record highBy Melita Kiely
The Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) taught a record number of students over the last academic year, up by 12% on the previous 12 months.
In the 2020/21 academic year, the WSET welcomed 108,584 students onto its courses worldwide. This marked a double-digit increase on the 2019/20 year, and an improvement on the previous record set in 2018/19 of 108,529 students.
The WSET offers courses covering wine, spirits and sake. The company’s spirits courses reached another milestone, with more than 9,000 students taking the spirits course for the first time in 2020/21.
During this period, 15% of candidates took courses through WSET’s online classroom, and 17% took the exam by remote invigilation.
Ian Harris, WSET chief executive, said: “I am humbled that, thanks to the dedication and support of our global network of course providers, more people than ever before in a single year have been able to take a WSET qualification.
“I am also extremely proud that we have been able to support over 3,000 students, primarily from the beleaguered hospitality industry across the world, to take a WSET qualification through charitable schemes in association with several of our corporate partners.”
The US remains WSET’s top market, with more than 20,000 students and 23% growth this past year, compared with 2019/20.
The EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region also grew with student numbers up by 17% and representing 43% of global registrations.
France is now a top-three market for WSET, with candidate registrations up by 102% over the previous year to 11,800. Plus, 9% of all exams were taken in the French language.
In London, UK, WSET’s flagship school, student numbers were up by 42%.
WSET had to suspend courses in mainland China at the end of January 2021, but despite this, the Asia Pacific region grew by 4% and accounted for 31% of WSET’s total business.
Harris added: “The ongoing impact of the global pandemic, combined with other external factors, has provided many challenges and highlighted areas of our business we need to focus on in the coming months to ensure we offer best in class customer service to our course providers and students worldwide.
“We could not have achieved these results without the tremendous efforts of all our WSET family – our employees, our course providers, our educators and our students – and I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to them all.”
WSET launched its Level 3 Award in Spirits course in 2019.