Industry expert says skills potential of Scotland’s workforce can propel nation from recovery into growth in the aftermath of Covid-19

Colin Lamb, Chief Explorer at Connect Three (Picture by Elaine Livingstone)
  • Connect Three enters major four-year partnership with Skills Development Scotland to help upskill Scotland’s workers  
  • Connect Three’s ‘joined up, people-first’ approach to skills development has helped more than 800 businesses thrive 
  • Skills Development Scotland programme will help Scottish SMEs flourish in wake of pandemic  

DEVELOPING skills at small firms across Scotland will be key to the nation’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis, according to Colin Lamb of Connect Three – a consultancy that specialises in improving businesses through people.   

Colin was speaking after the ‘changemaking’ consultancy entered a major four-year partnership with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to help upskill the nation’s workers as part of a new four-year initiative designed to propel small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the country from recovery into growth. 

Covid-19 – alongside longer-term challenges such as demographic and technological changes – has brought the skills needs of Scotland’s businesses into sharper focus. 

Connect Three is one of four partners selected to deliver the Skills for Growth programme, which offers free support to SMEs helping them adapt to a new economic environment brought about by the pandemic. With a focus on innovation and productivity, Skills for Growth helps identify and address skills gaps in the workforce to drive businesses forward.   

Since it was founded in 2014, Connect Three has supported more than 800 businesses from across Scotland and farther afield in North America, Europe, and Asia, helping 10,000+ managers become leaders able to drive their business and people forward.  

Big name clients at the Good Business Chartered firm, which has offices in Glasgow and London, include Sky, Scotrail, Border Biscuits, Cala Homes and Scottish Enterprise.   

The SDS partnership is a major coup for Connect Three, which made its name tearing up the rule book on ‘management consultancy’ – a label the firm distances itself from. 

Connect Three offers a holistic approach to skills development, focused on developing people and establishing positive business cultures.  

Colin, founder and owner of Connect Three, said: “Few sectors of society have felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic more in Scotland than SMEs.  

“It has been a period of instability nobody thought possible, and recovery is absolutely attainable, but it takes leaders, teams and individuals equipped with the right skills, mindset and belief to achieve it.  

“Upskilling, reskilling and skills development will be central to how businesses thrive again, and we are delighted SDS has recognised Connect Three’s ability to deliver that change and help Scotland on its route to recovery.”  

He added: “We are not a traditional consultancy, in fact, we have been known to take offence when described as a ‘management consultancy’. What we do is more than training. We believe in business cultures without hierarchy that actively encourage contribution and independent thinking.  

“We practice what we preach, and by helping Scottish businesses move towards this model, we can provide the key to unlocking business potential and driving firms from recovery and into growth.  

“The potential to achieve it exists within the people working in Scotland right now, they simply need the tools to realise their potential, embracing mistakes and using them as stepping stones towards their goals.”  

The move follows a major Scottish Council For Development and Industry (SCDI) report ‘Upskilling Scotland: The Future of Skills’, which identified the three key pillars of a high performing Scottish economy – high performing individuals, high performing workplaces and in-work development – and proposes 34 ideas to support them. 

Delivered in partnership with specialist consultants including Connect Three, Skills for Growthhelps identify any learning needs, create a positive culture and provide a fresh perspective on what skills your organisation needs for the future. 

Gary Gray, Skills for Growth manager at SDS, said: “Scotland’s employers are adapting to a new economic environment – including a greater focus on innovation and productivity – where having the right blend of skills in place is essential.  

“By working with partners Connect Three and others, we are committed to helping employers face these challenges – equipping people and businesses with the skills to seize opportunities and realise their potential.” 

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