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WSET celebrates unprecedented intake of students in 2020

Published:  21 September, 2021

A record number of students were awarded WSET qualifications during the previous academic year, according to the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

A total of 108,584 students enrolled on a WSET programme last year, representing a 12% increase on 2019/20. This latest figure exceeds the previous record of 108,529 candidates in the organisation’s 50th academic year (2018/19).

According to the WSET, demand for its non-wine courses reached a new high last year, with more than 9,000 students taking a spirits course for the first time.

During this period, 15% of candidates took courses through the WSET’s Online Classroom and 17% of all candidates took their exam by remote invigilation.

The US is by far the largest market, registering over 20,000 candidates and showing 23% growth compared to 2019/20.

Meanwhile, France has become a top three market for the first time with candidate registrations up 102% over the previous year to 11,800.

WSET School London, the WSET’s flagship school, also performed strongly over this period, chalking up a 42% growth in candidates compared to the previous year. The Asia Pacific region also performed well, recording +4% growth versus last year and representing 31% of the organisation’s total business.

However, the WSET announced in February 2021 that it was ceasing activities across mainland China, due to administrative issues.

“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,” said the WSET's chief executive Ian Harris.

“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.”