The chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Charlie Mayfield, is to be a commissioner for the new UK Com­mission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

Mayfield, who is also a Skillsmart Retail patron, will be one of the 20 inaugural UKCES commissioners when it is launched in April this year. UKCES aims to create a highly skilled workforce in the UK by 2020 and will take up some of the work of the Sector Skills Development Agency, which will cease to exist on 31 March.

"Raising skills levels is vital to the future prosperity of the UK," said Mayfield. "I am delighted to be given this opportunity to work with government and other stakeholders to develop the talent of our workforce."