skillfast_ukFollowing advice from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills Lord Mandelson, the Business, Innovation and Skills Secretary, announced, on behalf of the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations, that Skillfast-UK will not be relicensed as a Sector Skills Council (SSC) in its own right.

Government is keen to see alternative arrangements put in place that ensure that the skill needs of the industry continue to be met, and the SSC’s Board has already taken steps to secure appropriate representation for the fashion and textiles sector. Skillfast-UK will set out their plans for maintaining continuity in meeting the skill needs of employers in moving forward.

To assist Skillfast-UK in managing the transition Government has agreed to the UK Commission’s request to continue to licence Skillfast-UK as an SSC to 31st March 2010. Government has asked the UK Commission to work closely with Skillfast-UK to secure continuity of support for the sector.

Skills Minister Kevin Brennan said –

“While Skillfast-UK will not be relicensed as the SSC for the fashion and textile industry in its own right, the positive work the SSC has delivered provides a platform for a successful transition. We recognise the need to offer employers a level of assurance that their skill needs will continue to be recognised and progressed. Government welcomes the work of the Skillfast-UK Board to secure alternative arrangements for progressing the skills needs of the industry.”

Sector Skills Councils are employer-led bodies, established to enable employers to exert influence on the UK’s education and skills systems to ensure they meet their needs. The relicensing process is overseen and managed by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills through a panel chaired by Charlie Mayfield, who is also chairman of the John Lewis Partnership. The NAO reports and the recommendations of the Relicensing Panel are available at both and