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Thu 26th Apr 2018 - Sector skills organisation People 1st collapses into administration
Sector skills organisation People 1st collapses into administration: People 1st, the sector skills organisation for the hospitality industry, has collapsed into administration. FRP Advisory has been appointed administrators of the East Finchley-based company, whose customers include McDonald’s, JD Wetherspoon, Center Parcs and Merlin Entertainments. People 1st was once the employer-led sector skills council for hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism in the UK, responsible for developing and managing apprenticeship standards. Among its other duties the organisation acted as the external quality-assurance body for apprenticeship standards for chefs de partie, commis chefs, hospitality supervisors, managers and team members. However, government funding for sector skills councils ended six years ago, which is believed to have been the biggest single cause of the company’s downfall, reports FE Week. In 2016, People 1st positioned itself as an “insight-driven performance and talent management expert, providing tailored solutions and advice for UK and global clients”. Last year, the company said it hoped plans to manage external quality assurance for apprenticeship end-point assessment in the retail, hospitality and travel industries would help it survive financially. The company states on its website: “For more than 50 years our organisation has delivered excellence in terms of skills training, research and apprenticeship policy, and management.” In its most recent accounts to 31 March 2017, People 1st reported turnover of £4,272,000 with a deficit for the year (pre-depreciation) of £465,000 and reserves of £1.46m. It had put in place a three-year strategic plan to earn back the losses, which started in April last year. The accounts showed People 1st was acting on behalf of 18 trailblazer employer groups to develop apprenticeship standards and employing 56 people at the time. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls branded the news “unfortunate for the sector and everyone involved with People 1st”. She said: “UKHospitality is ready and able to step into the space and support in any way we can to provide some continuity until a permanent solution is found. Above all, the government needs to ensure its future actions do not undermine the development of skills in the sector and put the country’s valuable hospitality businesses at a disadvantage. This shows the pressing need for skills to be prioritised as part of a sector deal for UK tourism, of which the hospitality sector is a crucial part.”


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