Richard Scothorne

/ Richard Scothorne

Richard is a founding Director of Rocket Science and one of Scotland’s most experienced and respected consultants.  His work focuses on employability and skills, economic and business development, organisational development and review, and project and programme evaluation.  He is an internationally experienced facilitator and a trained mediator, and works with a range of public/private and charitable boards to support their development and help them review and clarify their strategy and direction.  He has led a range of influential work on the role and significance of micro-businesses.

He works across the UK but most of his assignments have been in the North East of England and Scotland.  His recent employability work has included the development of strategic approaches for North Ayrshire, Clackmannanshire, Dundee and Highland.  While most of his Scottish work focuses on the central belt he has worked extensively across rural Scotland, notably in the Highlands - where he used to live - where he has worked on a range of rural development issues.

Richard’s national roles have included Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee on Education and Employment, Adviser on Small Business Development to the OECD in Paris (for whom he developed a number of local small business development strategies), and Lead Consultant to the Scottish Government’s Ethnic Minorities and the Labour Market (EMLM) Strategic Group. Richard led the Interventions Workstream of the first Employability Framework for Scotland:  more recently, he was a member of the Expert Advisory Panel on the Scottish Government’s independent Review of Vocational Training and Education.

His national clients include Jobcentre Plus, Department for Work and Pensions, UK Commission for Employment and Skills and Skills Development Scotland. Richard is the co-author of ‘The Vital Economy: Integrating Training and Enterprise’ which can now be bought on Amazon for 5p.

Before entering consultancy over 20 years ago Richard was Depute Director of Planning and Head of Economic Development for Lothian Regional Council where he developed a strongly skills based approach to economic development, developing close links to the local FE Colleges and the Education Department. Before that he was Scottish Director of British Shipbuilders Enterprise Ltd, pioneering new kinds of relationships with FE Colleges in the West of Scotland to help redundant shipyard workers find new work through skills development in Glasgow and Ayrshire.

Recent projects include

Employability and skills

  • A ‘Highland approach’ to employability
  • Employability strategy for Dundee
  • Approaches to early intervention in tackling unemployment, Dundee
  • Employability strategy for Clackmannanshire
  • Employability and Skills Strategy for North Ayrshire Economic Development Board
  • Design of a world class Retail and Hospitality Skills Academy for Edinburgh St James development (current)
  • Feasibility study for an Edinburgh Heritage Academy (for Edinburgh World Heritage Trust

Micro-business/SMEs and recruitment

  • ‘School Ties’:  review of school/small business relationships for FSB
  • ‘Micro-businesses in Glasgow: Realising their potential’ for Jobs and Business Glasgow
  • Development of Joined up for Business strategy for Capital City Partnership
  • Research study into micro-businesses and recruitment, leading to the publication of ‘Micros Untapped: realising the employment potential of micro-businesses’ for the Federation of Small Businesses, which involved extensive stakeholder engagement and interviews, surveys and focus groups with over 650 micro-businesses across Scotland
  • Evaluation of Highland Council’s ‘Create and Employ’ project
  • Review of NW Wales Sole Trader Initiative for Highlands and Islands Enterprise and advice on the design of Recruit Sutherland.

Employers and employability

  • Review of Work Experience for Midlothian DYW
  • Review of strategic focus for Glasgow DYW
  • Employers and Employability in Moray for Moray Council


  • MA, Geography, St Catharine’s College, Cambridge.
  • MPhil, Urban Design and Regional Planning, University of Edinburgh.

Richard's little weaknesses

  • Soft spot for Newcastle United
  • Can't keep him away from mountains, glaciers and high latitudes
  • His bike 


  • 0131 226 4949
  • Edinburgh

Areas of Expertise

  • Specialist knowledge in employability and skills
  • Small business development
  • Partnerships and collaborative working
  • Project, programme and strategic review and evaluation
  • Performance measurement and improvement
  • Workshop and conference design and facilitation.