Trust to offer sales courses

The WSET responds to need in industry for education in selling skills

Off-licence staff will be offered on-the-job training by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust after a survey found "selling skills" were absent from the organisation's qualifications.

The poll by Wine Intelligence of

some 2,500 WSET students and tutors, and 123 top trade figures,

looked into the effectiveness of WSET education

to help

it identify "opportunities for improvement", according to Lulie Halstead, managing director of Wine Intelligence.

Respondents said

sales training


an area

that the WSET could

improve, it was revealed at the LIWF.

Ian Harris, chief executive of the WSET, said: "The industry is crying out for continuing professional development and keeping knowledge up


date. There are a lot of people who are not working for companies like Majestic where they could benefit from a basic



Lessons on

"answering challenging questions, making eye contact, and engaging customers" would be helpful for retailing staff, Harris said.

The course will initially be

offered to staff

at on-trade premises, with plans to roll it out to the off-trade within

a year, following a series of pilot schemes.

Harris added: "Training staff is not just a cost companies have to bear, it's an important investment in their business.

"If you give your staff a structured training programme you'll hang on to them longer."

The survey also found that the WSET's course materials , such as text books and study guides, need to be more up to date, and that, while classroom teaching is "respected", respondents want better access to distance learning through podcasts and DVDs.