Training firm 20/20 Project Management adopts staff ownership

Aberdeen's 20/20 says an employee ownership trust has been formed. Picture: Contributed
Aberdeen's 20/20 says an employee ownership trust has been formed. Picture: Contributed
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A specialist provider of project management training with clients including BP, Centrica and Transport for London has announced its transition to employee ownership.

The move will see 20 members of staff become owners of 20/20 Project Management, which describes itself as the top firm of its kind in the UK.

It delivers courses and consulting services globally from its Aberdeen base. In addition to having a team providing open-course and in-house training, it also offers an online learning platform.

The project management and project controls training company said its board of directors decided that employee ownership was the right move to enable the engagement of staff to take the business through its long-term goals.

It works with major names across a range of sectors, with its client list including BAE and Rolls-Royce, as well as a range of public sector organisations, and has an annual turnover of £3 million.

Employee ownership was initially considered as part of its succession planning strategy, with the plans crystallised after founding director Tony Marks attended a succession masterclass run by Cooperative Development Scotland (CDS).

The transition to employee ownership was supported by CDS, with the process managed by Ownership Associates, legal services provided by MacRoberts and accounting services by Campbell Dallas.

An employee ownership trust has been formed and holds 61 per cent of the shares on behalf of the employees, with the option to acquire the remaining shares.

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.

“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.

“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 that the staff “are collectively looking forward to building on 20/20’s business success”.

Sarah Deas, director at CDS, added: “20/20 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.”

Deas recently noted that employee-owned businesses operating in Scotland have trebled to around the 100 mark in the past five years, with roughly 7,000 employee-owners generating a combined turnover of about £940 million, with CDS “currently averaging a deal a month”.