Wine studies students at Plumpton College, Sussex, are set to receive a 50% reduction in exam fees thanks to Marks & Spencer’s financial support.

For the past four years, Marks & Spencer has awarded a scholarship to the top final BSc (Hons) Viticulture & Oenology student at the college. Alongside funding their course fees, the winner of the scholarship has the opportunity to work directly with the Marks & Spencer wine team to produce a bespoke wine from the grapes grown at Plumpton, which then go on sale in store.

This year the Marks & Spencer team selected army veteran Chris Evoy for the wine scholarship, but with his fees already accounted for the retailer has agreed to support other students in their efforts to complete Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and other professional qualifications while at Plumpton.

“The BA (Hons) Wine Business programme incorporates full tuition for WSET level three and four (Diploma) awards, but does not include the WSET exam fees, which are really challenging for students on a restricted budget,” said Chris Foss, manager of Plumpton wine division. “Thanks to Marks & Spencer, 27 of this year’s students will benefit from a 50% reduction in their exam fees.”

With Plumpton College being one of the largest approved programme providers for the WSET courses in the UK, these exams will be held on site.

Explaining the value of this link, Beth Kelly from Marks & Spencer said: “Each year we are delighted to support the educational work that Plumpton carries out at all levels, as an international retailer, we are dedicated to offering the highest quality wines and sharing the quality story with our consumers. Wine education serves a critical role in promoting and elevating our industry, and we’re happy to support and encourage students with the opportunity to join the international wine trade.”