Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens: invitation to shape a big, lively conversation on March 2nd 2016

Since 2013 the Scottish Leaders Forum has sponsored an initiative called ‘Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens’.
This started with a question: ‘what is an assets approach to workforce development?’.

Reconnecting with East Ayrshire Vibrant Communities team…

This blog post is a copy of one posted to the new Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens blog at

Back in Spring 2013, two people told me, independently, that I ‘had to go and talk to Katie Kelly at East Ayrshire Council’.

I was blown away by the energy of that first conversation we had together. Katie was really embodying an ‘assets’ approach, perhaps more than anyone I’d every met working for a local authority before.

Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens – Recovery Event March 2015

On 30th March, participants from Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens pioneer sites collaborated in hosting an event that asked ‘how might our public services be in recovery?’.


A really diverse group of over 100 people came and experienced something of what it feels like to be part of a recovery movement, from the inside.

We began by meeting each other as human beings, not job titles. We circulated round different tables, and heard quick ‘seed’ talks from people in recovery and people from the wider SWSC network.

SWSC SRC pic 1After lunch, Kuladharini from Scottish Recovery Consortium led a ‘milling’ exercise. This invited us to slow down, and get in touch – in our bodies – with how it feels to genuinely connect with someone else.

After this, a whole new quality of conversation happened. People said they found the experience surprisingly ‘refreshing’, ‘gentle’ and ‘deep’.

The aim of the event was not to generate a list of immediate actions; but to open a space for reflection and perhaps to spark new kinds of connections, insight and intention.

Time will tell if it makes a difference. The event team will debrief at the end of April and produce a short video to share.

We will also report back in May back on any early feedback about what, if anything, people tell us the event has helped to spark.

Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens: July Update

Can you help design/host events leading up to and including a big SWSC ‘Ceilidh’ in Glasgow in February 2015?

SWSC has established a pattern of regular Reference Group meetings. During our first year, these have been hosted by individual pioneer sites.

This year, we can build on this with events that more actively seek to cross-fertilise learning.

Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens: November 2013 update

This blog is one of a regular series highlighting key events and developments with the Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens initiative. Please don’t hold back in offering suggestions, feedback or other comments…

Whilst the focus of October was reaching out to generate widening interest in our work, this month has both continued this work whilst also following up –turning initial curiosity of people who have been told – or independently heard – about the initiative into participation as pioneer sites. It’s been an exciting month of meeting a great number of assets practitioners and strategists who share a commitment to shaping Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens going forward.

This post attempts to capture and share key points from many of these conversations – but first, a reflection on an event called ‘Writing our Story’ that was hosted by the Permanent Secretary in the Parliament on November 18th

Writing our Story event, November 18th

Community Assets Approaches to Workforce Development

Part of the work of the Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens initiative is sparking interest at events in our questions about how organisations can take a community assets approach to workforce development. Here’s a story of a workshop we ran at Scottish Leaders Forum event a couple of weeks ago.  

Building momentum: Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens at the Scottish Leaders Forum 3/4th October 2013

The Scottish Leaders Forum (SLF) is a forum of Chief Executive level leaders from across Scotland’s public services.  About 150 members meet regularly to collaborate on different topics. Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens began during 2012 as a result of a commitment by members of the SLF to collaborate on community assets approaches to workforce development. One year on, SWSC was invited to run workshops to share where we’ve got to so far with this work – and encourage more public service organisations to join in.

Introducing the Skilled Workers, Skilled Citizens initiative… and an invitation to get involved

The Reference Group for this initiative have asked me to write this blog as a way to capture a story of our work together. The idea is that different voices can add/amend/comment. And we can embed some of the media we are co-producing as a way to share this widely.

For example, this video was taken in late August 2013 with members of East Ayrshire Council’s ‘Vibrant Communities’ team. It shows the kinds of conversations happening at our events (there have been three meetings to date – Edinburgh in February 2013, East Ayrshire in May, and Glasgow (with Threshold and Police Scotland sharing their stories) in June.