The apprenticeship divisions of People 1st, which fell into administration last week, have been acquired by charity The Workforce Development Trust.

The deal means that the skills body’s apprenticeship services, including setting the standard of travel agent apprenticeships, “has been preserved in its entirety”.

People 1st was one of five external quality assurance (EQA) body approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships, and covered the travel industry as well as tourism, passenger transport, retail and hospitality.

It led the development work on the new apprenticeship standards and is behind the Shine Awards, which celebrate the achievements of women in the travel sector.

The acquisition – backed by the chairs of the EQA Apprenticeship Boards – will allow People 1st to continue as a standalone organisation, The Workforce Development Trust said in a statement. It added that “further investment” will be made over the summer.

An Abta Spokesperson said: “Apprenticeships are a great first step into the travel industry, both for staff and businesses. Abta has been assured that the team from People 1st, which is responsible for the Travel Apprenticeship, has been retained by the Workforce Development Trust and will continue to assist Abta Members to take on apprentices in a mutually beneficial fashion. Abta has had a good working relationship with People 1st as a result of taking part in the Travel Consultant Trailblazer and the Travel Apprenticeship Board, which will also continue its work – and we look forward to working with the Workforce Development Trust.”

John Rogers, chief executive of The 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, chief executive of 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.”

Edward Gallier, head of learning and development at Jurys Inn Hotels and chair of the 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.”