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Record Number of Students Take WSET Qualifications

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), the largest global provider of wine, spirits and sake qualifications, has reported that in the last academic year (2020/21) a total of 108,584 students took a WSET qualification through the organisation’s global network of course providers. This represents a 12% increase on 2019/20 and exceeds the previous record of 108,529 candidates in the organisation’s 50th year (2018/19).

Against a backdrop of the continuing global pandemic, candidate numbers grew for all wine qualifications compared to the previous year. WSET’s spirits courses reached a new high, with more than 9,000 students taking a spirits course for the first time. During this period 15% of candidates took courses through WSET’s Online Classroom and 17% of all candidates took their exam by remote invigilation.

The USA remained WSET’s top market, registering over 20,000 candidates and showing 23% growth compared to 2019/20. The EMEA region also showed strong growth with a 17% increase in students, representing 43% of global registrations. France became a top three market for the first time with candidate registrations up 102% over the previous year to 11,800. In addition, 9% of all exams globally were taken in the French language. WSET School London, WSET’s flagship school, also performed strongly over this period, chalking up a 42% growth in candidates compared to the previous year.

Despite WSET having to temporarily suspend business operations in Mainland China at the end of January 2021, the Asia Pacific region performed well growing +4% versus last year and representing 31% of WSET’s total business. Australia, Hong Kong SAR (China), Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan (China) – all top 10 WSET markets – showed good growth.

WSET course availability continued to grow in 2020/21, with 48 new course providers offering WSET courses for the first time, including one new market – Luxembourg. WSET also registered three new Diploma centres – two in the USA (The Texas Wine School in Houston and The Wine & Spirit Archive in Portland, Oregon) and one in France (WiSP in Paris). There are now 37 course providers in 21 countries offering WSET’s prestigious Level 4 Diploma in Wines.

WSET Chief Executive Ian Harris says, “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 3000 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.”

Harris adds, “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.”

To learn more about WSET’s qualifications or to find a local course provider, visit wsetglobal.com.

About the Wine & Spirit Education Trust 

  • Set up in 1969, WSET is the largest global provider of wines, spirits and sake qualifications.
  • WSET offers qualifications across four levels, from one-day beginner courses through to an expert level diploma.
  • WSET qualifications are available through 800 plus course providers in more than 15 languages and over 70 countries and are open both to industry professionals and consumer enthusiasts.
  • WSET is recognised as an awarding organisation by Ofqual, the English regulator of qualifications and examinations. AllWSET qualifications have a strong reputation worldwide as the industry standard for knowledge.
  • Since 1969, WSET has awarded nearly one million individuals a WSET qualification.
  • The top 10 WSET markets by candidate registrations for the academic year 2020-21:
  1. USA
  2. UK
  3. France
  4. Mainland China
  5. Hong Kong SAR, China
  6. Canada
  7. Australia
  8. Singapore
  9. Taiwan, China
  10. South Korea

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