Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, has been appointed as one of 20 inaugural commissioners for the new UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).
The news is welcomed by the Sector Skills Council for Retail, Skillsmart Retail.
Anne Seaman, chief operating officer for Skillsmart Retail, said: “We were delighted when Charlie Mayfield became a Skillsmart Retail patron, and this new appointment will provide a further opportunity for him to highlight the importance of retail skills in creating a world class workforce.
“We look forward to working with him in representing the views of retailers throughout the UK and ensuring that they are provided with the opportunity to increase their employees’ skills and remain competitive.”
UKCES will operate from April 2008 and will take up some of the work currently undertaken by the Sector Skills Development Agency, which will cease to exist on 31 March 2008.
Its aims are to secure a highly skilled workforce, increase employment levels, engage more people from disadvantaged backgrounds and help them into sustained employment.
Mayfield, who has been a Skillsmart Retail patron since April 2007, said: “Raising skills levels is vital to the future prosperity of the UK. I am delighted to be given this opportunity to work with government and other stakeholders to develop and nurture the talent of our workforce.”