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The Workforce Development Trust acquires key strategic elements of People 1st


The Workforce Development Trust today announced that it has acquired key strategic elements of People 1st, the skills and talent management organisation that went into administration early last week.

People 1st is the skills and talent management sector skills organisation for hospitality, retail, passenger transport, travel and tourism in the UK. It has led the development work on the new apprenticeship standards and is the External Quality Assurance (EQA) body for apprenticeships through sector employer leadership. This acquisition will allow People 1st to continue as a standalone organisation, enabling it to continue focussing on its key activities including apprenticeships, EQA, accreditation services and work in the devolved nations and international markets.

We are aware that press coverage last week focused on the potentially damaging loss of the People 1st‘s highly regarded apprenticeship services and its EQA role. We can confirm that this aspect of the People 1st work has been preserved in its entirety – and further investment will be put into this area over the summer. Chairs of the EQA Apprenticeship Boards have supported the transfer.

Edward Gallier, Head of Learning and Development, Jurys Inn Hotels (Chair, Hospitality Apprenticeship Board) said:

“Working for our employer board, People 1st has made significant investment in developing our apprenticeship and EQA systems. The Workforce Development Trust has been able to step-in to ensure that this investment is not lost. As a charity and not-for-profit organisation, the Workforce Development Trust is an ideal new owner for People 1st and has ensured its financial stability. We are delighted that all of the EQA staff and expertise of People 1st will continue to work with us to ensure the success of our new apprenticeships.”

People 1st has been particularly successful in leading international developments and the international team have wholly transferred with the acquisition. This will ensure full continuity of this valued service and we will continue to deliver all current overseas activities and undertake all of our future commitments.

John Rogers, Workforce Development Trust (WDT) CEO, said:

“We are delighted to welcome People 1st to the Workforce Development Trust Group. They have a long and proud history of supporting skills development in the hospitality and retail sectors. We are pleased to be able to ensure that People 1st  can continue to provide its highly regarded strategic services”.

Simon Tarr, CEO, People 1st said:

“I am extremely proud of the People 1st staff and their genuine commitment and dedication to supporting employers in the visitor economy to benefit from high quality skills solutions. Working to facilitate the development of over 20 new apprenticeship standards has been a key achievement, as is the work we have done to support employers through the changes to apprenticeships and the numerous successful international contracts we have.

"WDT and People 1st share a common vision and have similar values, so becoming part of the WDT Group is an ideal solution for our clients and our people.”

For further information please contact: people1st@wdtrust.org.uk