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WSET to fund Oddbins' diploma students

Published:  01 April, 2011

The WSET will fund Oddbins' students on current diploma programmes, after news broke yesterday that the off-licence chain is set for administration.

Speaking at the WSET's Business and Commercial Knowledge (BACK) course, which runs from 30th March to 1st April, Ian Harris, WSET chief executive, said: "It is ironic that we were in the middle of the WSET BACK course, looking at the issues facing the UK wine industry, when we received the news that the plug had been pulled on Oddbins.

"Although many people expected this, it is sad that such an iconic retailer has gone into administration, and it was particularly poignant for me having worked closely with the current Oddbins team and also having previously worked for Seagram, one of its former owners."

Although WSET is unlikely to receive more than 7p in the pound on their outstanding debt of £17,000, it wanted to ensure students are not disadvantaged.

Harris added: "We took the bookings on courses starting in early 2011 knowing that it was a financial risk, but as an educational charity we feel that it is right for us to fund the cost of Oddbins' students to complete the semester courses which they have already started.

"Also there is a Bursary Fund available to help them to complete any further courses. I hope that all of them - and indeed all current Oddbins' employees - are able to continue working in the wine and spirit industry, and I am very pleased that WSET is able to play its part in helping them to gain the qualifications which will help them in their future careers".