Following changes in sector skills council funding, People 1st, the sector skills council for hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism, has announced it is to acquire (subject to contract two Skillsmart Retail assets in order to “achieve greater impact and value going forward”. It will acquire the National Skills Academy for Retail Ltd, which will continue to provide skills solutions to retailers across the UK, and Apprenticeship Certification, which will continue to be provided by a new Standards Setting Body (SSB) utilising the Skillsmart Retail brand. It said that the SSB would maintain the necessary links with employers, awarding organisations and providers to perform the Apprenticeship certification process for retail. The transfer of assets will take place in October 2012. Under the new arrangements, the National Skills Academy for Retail will continue to provide skills solutions to the retail sector across the UK and will maintain its links with employers particularly through the NSA for Retail Advisory Board whose members will continue to advise on the overall strategy and direction of the NSA for Retail business. As part of the changes, Martin Beaumont (formerly CEO of the Co-operative Group) will be stepping down at the end of his term as chair of Skillsmart Retail at the end of September but will remain a director on the Skillsmart Retail board and Anne Seaman will be appointed as executive chair to oversee the transition arrangements. In response to the funding changes, the Board of Skillsmart Retail Ltd (the sector skills council for retail) is currently reviewing the future of its operations and considering winding up the sector skills council for retail.

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