6th August, 2013 by Andy Young
New figures released by the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) show the number of students for the academic year 2012/13 are at an all-time high.
The 48,434 students from 62 countries around the world, is up 12% on the previous year. The figures represent candidates across all qualification levels, from the foundation Level 1 awards through to the WSET Diploma.
WSET chief executive Ian Harris said: “I’m delighted to be able to report another year of double-digit growth in WSET candidate numbers.
“Over recent years, the WSET team have put a great deal of effort into developing new qualifications, ensuring that the existing ones are as accurate and fit-for-purpose as they can possibly be, and making them available in the languages in which they are needed – 17 currently. I’d like to put on record WSET’s thanks to all its Corporate Patrons whose support has helped make this a rapid reality. These results justify their investment and more.”
According to the new figures the biggest growth has come in mainland China, the UK and the US.
Harris added: “These figures of course reflect the continued strong growth in interest in wine in China, plus the growth in the imported wine market in the US. I have to say, though that I am particularly pleased to see such good figures from the UK. It might be our original, oldest and biggest market, but the fact that we are still seeing solid growth here bodes well in my view for the future of the UK trade.
“If consumers are going to trade up and ‘buy better,’ then it is well-qualified trade professionals who are going to help them do it.”
The UK remains the biggest market for the WSET, but China has jumped from the fourth biggest to second, with the US staying in third place. Hong Kong has dropped from second to fourth and Canada remains the fifth biggest market for the Trust.
Chairman of WSET’s Board of Trustees Laura Jewell MW added: “Ten years ago, WSET’s candidate numbers were just over 10,000 per annum. To have achieved almost five-fold growth since, and through a period of the global economic uncertainty, is a great achievement which puts WSET firmly on top of the world of wine and spirit education, something of which we can all be proud.”