John Lewis Partnership chairman Charlie Mayfield has been named chair of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills with immediate effect.

Business secretary Vince Cable announced the appointment of Mayfield, who is also a patron of Skillsmart Retail, the stores sector’s skills council.

Skillsmart Retail chief executive Anne Seaman said: “We are delighted that skills will be at the top of the agenda for government with one of the UK’s most well-known and respected business leaders at the helm of the Commission for Work and Skills.

“It is vital in these trying times we are enabling on-the-job vocational training for all – it is essential for our future growth and prosperity.”