Charles Skene, founder of the Skene Group, has been awarded a CBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list for services to business and enterprise promotion: an honour and privileged recognition after decades of dedicated work in Aberdeen.
He’s best known for founding the Skene House Apartment Hotels in 1979 (its Whitehall branch has been number one on Trip Advisor for five continuous years), he also established the Skene Business Centres and Inchmarlo Continuing Care Retirement Community which recently received “The Most Outstanding Continuous Care Community in the UK” awarded by the UK’s over 50’s Housing Awards. But his commitment to enterprise education and promotion is something he’s been passionate about for over thirty years.
As far back as 1986 Mr Skene was one of five area chairman in Scotland charged to promote the RSA’s Industry Year Initiative to young people highlighting the importance of industry in creating wealth and employment. He also introduced The Skene Young Entrepreneurs’ Award to encourage enterprise and entrepreneurship throughout Scotland: its National Awards were hosted by the prestigious Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Mr Skene has strong connections with Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University, going back to 2002 when he was appointed a Governor. He chaired the Estates and Buildings Committee and the Audit Panel. He was appointed a Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship in 1996 where he taught case studies centred around his very varied business career, based on the Harvard case study style of teaching.
Mr Skene has been President of the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce and is the longest serving elected member of CBI Scotland. He’s a Price-Babson fellow of Babson University, Boston, the leading university in the teaching of entrepreneurship. In 1996 he was appointed by the Secretary of State for Scotland to the Task Force to Investigate Under Achievement in Schools. He was later appointed to the Scottish Executive’s Review of Education for Work and Enterprise Group in 2001.
Charles Skene is looking forward to visiting Buckingham Palace to accept this latest honoured recognition, and he will continue to work to further Scotland’s entrepreneurial skillset. He concludes, “New successful businesses, entrepreneurial skills and enterprise are the lifeblood of Scotland’s economy. We need to maintain a strong position in the UK and alongside other members of the EU. I have been trying to persuade politicians and educationalists that if we wish to improve our economy it is essential that all young people in education – primary, secondary and tertiary – must have the opportunity to take part in enterprise education.’
‘I have experienced a reluctance among some educationalists and politicians that encouraging wealth creation was giving some young people an unfair advantage over others. If everyone is given an equal chance then those who succeed should be lauded and not criticised. The old Scottish attitude about someone who has succeeded and risen above their expected station in life used to be “Fa dis he think he is – I kent his Faither”. I believe that regardless of the economic and social background into which young people are born they can succeed in adult life if they are given encouragement in early years. Young Scots are our future and I passionately support their zeal, drive and innovation.”
Discover more at skene-house.co.uk, inchmarlo-retirement.co.uk and skenebusinesscentres.com.