20/20 Project Management joins Scotland’s growing employee ownership sector

The 20/20 team
The 20/20 team

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An Aberdeen-based provider of project management training has become the latest Scottish business to announce its transition to employee ownership, with 20 employees becoming owners.

Project management and project controls training company 20/20 delivers courses and consulting services throughout the world from its Aberdeen base. In addition to having a team of highly qualified training facilitators and consultants providing open-course and in-house training, the business also offers an online learning platform. The company works with major names across a range of sectors including BP, Centrica, Transport for London, BAE, Rolls Royce and AMEC, as well as a range of public sector organisations, and has an annual turnover of £3million.

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Becoming an employee-owned company has been a positive step for 20/20, with the board of directors deciding it was the right move to enable the engagement of the employees to effectively take the business through its long-term goals.

Initially employee ownership was considered as part of 20/20’s succession planning strategy. After founding director Tony Marks attended a succession masterclass run by Cooperative Development Scotland (CDS), the benefits became very apparent and the plans to make it a reality came into action.

Commenting on the decision, Mr. Marks said: “We had developed a future leaders programme with the eventual aim of preparing some of our staff to oversee business operations.  Myself and two fellow directors were the three main shareholders in the business and we still hadn’t resolved the issue of realising the value of our individual shares.

Tony continued: “Hearing first-hand about the process and experience of becoming employee-owned really helped us understand the potential benefits, and we agreed it was an effective solution to our succession issues. The prospect of a more engaged workforce and a culture which encouraged greater innovation really appealed to us. We held a team meeting to tell our staff, and the news was very well-received.

“Employee ownership allows myself and my fellow directors to remain in the business as we continue to actively develop our future leadership team, with the knowledge that 20/20’s future is secure. We hope that with a highly-invested workforce, the company will continue to grow and succeed well into the future, with all employees sharing in the rewards.”

Emma Davidson, 20/20’s employee trustee, added:  “The employees see this as a very positive thing and are collectively looking forward to building on 20/20’s business success for years to come.  By becoming an employee-owned company, we feel empowered to create an environment that suits us as a workforce, ultimately increasing our productivity to bring 20/20’s success to the next level.”

An Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) has been formed and holds 61% of the shares on behalf of the employees with the option to acquire the remaining shares in the future.  The transition to employee ownership was supported by Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), with the process managed by Ownership Associates, legal services provided by MacRoberts and accounting services by Campbell Dallas.

Sarah Deas, director at Co-operative Development Scotland, said: “2020 went down the employee ownership route after hearing about some of the benefits first-hand. It will help retain jobs and the company’s ethos, whilst allowing the owners to plan their future over time as they put an effective management team in place.”

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