Dean Shoesmith, executive head of HR at the London boroughs of Sutton and Merton, will take over as president of the Public Sector People Managers’ Association (PPMA) at the end of this month.

The PPMA, which represents over 1,000 HR and organisational development professionals in the public sector, announced the news their annual conference on Monday. Shoesmith takes over from Gillian Hibberd, while Anne Gibson becomes the new vice president.

“My year as president of the PPMA will focus on addressing the skills gap and on seeking out examples of the very best practice in the areas of training and development – particularly for those who don’t possess basic literacy, numeracy and IT skills,” said Shoesmith. “I believe there has never been a more important time to address the skills gap; if we don’t win the skills race, we will fall back within the global economy – which will have considerable societal ramifications.

“There are swathes of working UK adults who have suffered educational disadvantage – both through being by-passed by the education system, but then their personal isolation and exclusion has been compounded by organisational failure to address their development in the workplace” he added.

In his role as executive head of HR at Sutton and Merton, Dean is responsible for leading the shared human resources team across the two organisations and its 11,000 combined employees and is well known and respected for becoming the first shared service head of HR, in an intra-London borough shared service partnership.