Peter Rilett Becomes Master of Society of Merchant Venturers

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By AnnaClark | Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 14:01

Peter Rilett has been named Master of the Society of Merchant Venturers, as part of the society's historic Charter Day celebrations on 12 November.

The annual event commemorates the Royal Charter granted to the Society by Edward VI in 1552. It includes a ceremonial procession and service at Bristol Cathedral, attended by the Merchants and children from the three Merchant sponsored schools, Merchants' Academy, Colston's School and Colston's Girls' School.

Peter, a Merchant for seven years, has spent the majority of his working life driving forward Bristol's dynamic professional services sector. Peter spent 33 years at accountants and business advisors KMPG, becoming senior partner in charge of the Bristol office and 400 employees.

Peter is becoming Master during a period of great change in the city. Peter said: "Bristol's first elected Mayor is entering office on 15 November. I have followed the Mayoral race with interest and while there are undoubtedly difficult issues to face, the successful candidate must fully grasp this important opportunity to push Bristol forward and generate progress."

Peter has identified education and the acquisition of workplace ready skills amongst Bristol's young people as key priorities for the Society over the next 12 months.  "The Merchants are heavily involved in education in Bristol, supporting three secondary schools and welcoming two new primaries into the fold this year – the Dolphin School and Gay Elms Primary School.

"As education establishments continue to leave local authority control, I believe that all-through-academies will increase in number, particularly in areas of social deprivation. We are hopeful that Gay Elms and Merchants' Academy, which merged to create an all-through-academy in September, will provide a successful reference point for future partnerships in the city.

"Unemployment in Bristol is also still a key issue. Over the next year, the Merchants will work to help tackle rising youth unemployment figures through our continued support for young people. It is essential that young people acquire the skills necessary to the modern workplace.

"A focus needs to be placed on employment in areas of the city in which third generation unemployment is still accepted as an inevitable way of life."

Care for the elderly also remains high on the Merchants' agenda for 2012. Peter said: "There has been a recent shift towards extra care provision, a trend St Monica Trust has long been aware of. It is through St Monica's, as well as the Cote and Almshouse charities, that the Society will focus its efforts in improving the city's offering to older people in 2013."

Since retiring from KPMG in 2005, Peter has taken on a raft of advisory positions including trustee of the Quartet Community Foundation, Chairman of the Board of North Bristol NHS Trust, Independent Director at Business West, Chairman of the Board of Governors at Bristol Grammar School and Trustee of St Monica Trust. Peter is also a Non Executive Director at Watts of Lydney and Board Advisor at Centaur Services.

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