Demand for wine and spirits education is higher than ever, according to new figures from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET).
It has reported a 14% increase in candidates in the UK to 19,401 over the 2016/17 academic year compared to the previous 12 months to July 31, with many coming from the trade.
Internationally, it has seen a 19% increase, marking 15 years of growth, with candidate numbers in mainland China up 41% to 12,813 and in the USA up 48% to 11,487.
With more expansion in resources planned globally for 2017/18, WSET is also releasing the freshly updated Level 2 Award in Spirits and making available a full suite of printed materials for the Level 3 Award in Sake.
WSET believes the need for more knowledgeable staff is greater than ever as research shows that consumers are spending more money per bottle on wine and spirits and showing greater interest in the products they are drinking. This is encouraging businesses to prioritise formal training and accredited qualifications for staff to cater to customers’ discerning tastes and drive profits.
WSET chief executive Ian Harris said: “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. After another successful year for WSET we’re now setting out strategies to take our progress to the next level.”
Karen Douglas, WSET’s 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.”