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Skills for Growth case study: Robertson Gemini

Having a history of almost a century didn't prevent this firm from finding room for change

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A fresh pair of eyes

Robertson Gemini is a Castle Douglas-based car firm with a long standing as a family business, going back to its founding in 1921. Its 14 employees include valet staff, receptionists, mechanics and sales staff. But even with a company this established, there’s always room for growth. That’s why Managing Director Caroline Robertson and Director David Butler used Skills for Growth to bring a fresh pair of eyes to their business.

Concentrating the mind

Delivered by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Remarkable, Skills for Growth is a free service for businesses with five to 250 employees. It involves up to two days of business consultancy, resulting in an in-depth plan focused on skills, training and recruitment needs.

For Robertson Gemini, SDS Skills for Growth Adviser Lesley Begg and Aidan Flynn of Remarkable led the process.

David Butler said: “They reviewed the whole business and interviewed all the staff to gain insight into what we were doing, resulting in a comprehensive report with advice on steps that could improve things.”

“It concentrated the mind a great deal. The staff were unsure of it at first but Lesley and Aidan pitched it just right and explained that the whole process was confidential, so it was all positive.

Openness is key

Lesley explained how the staff’s willingness to engage with the process paid off. “For a business as well-established as Robertson Gemini, adopting new approaches in areas such as staff development and training can sometimes be a challenge," she said. “But having taken the right steps, the firm and its staff have reaped the rewards. It has benefited everyone and I’d encourage other businesses to follow their example.”

Visible results

David shared some details of the progress Skills for Growth has supported. “We’ve looked at just about every part of the business and streamlined it,” he said. “We have staff who have been with us for a long time, but they have learned through experience rather than through formal education or training. Now we’re working to develop their skills. We’re sending mechanics on training courses and we’ve sent a team member on a management programme. He is now the interface between the workshop and the front desk, and that’s working very well.

“We’ve taken on a Modern Apprentice and we’ve also taken on someone with additional support needs who has developed an awful lot.

“Change can be hard work, but Skills for Growth has helped us focus on what’s important and we’ve been delighted with it.”

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If your business has five to 250 employees, it's the perfect candidate for benefiting from Skills for Growth. Fill out our quick Skills for Growth form online and we'll get in touch.