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WSET lands Queen’s enterprise award

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has been decorated with The Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2015 in International Trade – one of the most prestigious awards in British business.

China is quickly on its way to overtaking the UK as the WSET’s number one market, the company revealed (Photo: WSET)

Having demonstrated “consistent growth and sustained success” in reaching international markets according to the company, it has received an invitation to a reception at Buckingham Palace on July 14 alongside award winners from other categories.

Founded in 1969 to meet the training needs of the UK trade, WSET has since grown to become the world leader in wine and spirit education.

In the last academic year 56,215 people worldwide sat for a WSET qualification. WSET courses are available in 18 languages, across more than 60 countries, and in the past decade the proportion of candidates taking their qualifications outside the UK has grown from 37% to over 75%. Over the same period, annual candidate numbers have more than quadrupled.

The growth in student numbers from some of the world’s most well-established wine producing countries, including France and Australia, is “perhaps most the satisfying” aspect for a British business operating in the wine sector, WSET said in a company statement.

WSET candidate numbers in France have quadrupled since 2008, while Australia delivered an eightfold increase over the same period.

China is also fast on the heels of the UK to becoming WSET’s number one market, the company revealed.

The international expansion has been led from its London headquarters by WSET’s chief executive, Ian Harris, who sees the company’s success as a reflection of the industry’s continued recognition of the UK as a hub for the global drinks trade.

He commented, “As a country with a historically low domestic production, the UK has always been one of the world’s largest importers of wine.  This exposure to different styles and grape varieties has given the British a rich understanding of wines and spirits from all over the world – making us well placed to be world leaders in the industry’s education.

Thanking the WSET team for working “tirelessly to expand its influence overseas”, Harris continued, “It is fantastic to have our efforts acknowledged by HM The Queen.”

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