The fashion and textile sector, which includes laundry and drycleaning, is currently represented by Skillfast-UK but Skillfast’s current contract ends on 31 March 2010 and Lord Mandelson has announced that it will not be renewed. Employers in the fashion and textiles and textile care are now expected to back a deal to join Skillset.

Once final arrangements are agreed, Skillset will represent a portfolio of industries that contribute £45billion to the UK economy each year.

The decision for Skillset to represent the fashion and textiles sector was made by Skillfast-UK’s Board, which comprises prominent fashion and textiles industrialists, trade associations and union representatives.

John Shonfeld, managing director at Tibard Laundries and Skillfast-UK board member said: “The laundry and drycleaning sector needs a sector skills council to provide strategic influence at the highest level. Skillfast-UK made great strides by putting employers in control of qualifications and helping our sector to get NVQs off the ground. Through Skillset, fashion and textiles employers will be able to influence the skills agenda at a fresh level. This is a good decision for the industry and one that we hope employers will embrace.”

An agreement is expected to be in place early in the New Year.