Course Details

Our Flagship Mediation Training Course:


Using Mediation Skills as Leaders and Professionals


We have no plans to host a Summer School in 2024.  We are taking stock of the format and content of the course. Future courses may take a different form to previous Summer Schools.  

If you wish to be included in our mailing list about the Summer School or other residential courses, please let us know.

You can read about Core’s Summer School here.

“One of the most valuable courses I have ever attended – a really valuable learning experience, with great application to my life and work.”

“Extremely valuable – excellent event. This is the best course I have ever attended.”

“Personal insight into my own behaviours, hope that many of the conflicts I come across can be resolved, where previously there was just despair.”

 “Incredibly well qualified, kind and generous instructors who shared their considerable expertise in a forthright and careful way. Incredible attention to detail to make sure that a group learning experience felt very tailored to each individual’s needs. Superbly organised, I have never seen better! All the advance material, course resources, slides, webpage – every element was top class.”

Spring School Participants 2019

About the Residential Summer School

Our Summer School is a world-class course, at a world-class venue, for leaders and professionals who are seeking to acquire the leading edge in enhancing their communication, negotiation and conflict resolution skills.

Mediation skills are needed now more than ever to address the complex challenges of businesses and organisations. This course will equip you to be an even more skilled negotiator in collaborations and partnerships and when managing and reducing conflict, as well as introducing you to the skills and framework to be a really competent mediator.

Over the past nearly 20 years, Core’s Flagship Mediation, Negotiation and Conflict Management training courses have assisted leaders, professionals, managers, consultants and decision-makers to communicate effectively, manage differences better and resolve disputes quickly. The flagship course has been delivered 35 times with well over 600 participants joining the Core alumni community.

The course is highly regarded in Scotland, the rest of the UK and throughout Europe. Participants speak highly and enthusiastically about the course, including the calibre of coaches and those it attracts. In a recent survey of Core alumni from the past eighteen years, 100% of respondents said they would recommend Core’s mediation skills training to others in the future. 97% of participants felt participation in Core’s training enhanced their ability to deal with conflict, 71% noted that they have contributed to their workplace, company, organisation and/or colleagues in a more positive way as a result and 46% feel that they are now even more qualified for their job.

Our course participants come from the public and private sectors, and many backgrounds including commercial and legal, government, banking, human resources, sport and not-for-profit.

Tried and tested from years of experience in mediation and in some of the toughest negotiations, the Summer School will be led by John Sturrock, internationally recognised as a leader in the field. John has pioneered high quality training in business, the professions and commerce in Scotland and elsewhere. He has considerable experience of decision-making in business and the public sector and will be sharing that on the course, along with experienced colleagues, Charlie Woods, Liz Rivers and Hugh Donald.

The Summer School also operates as the first module for those who wish to proceed with a form of assessment and accreditation.

“Core’s flagship mediation course offers so much more than the opportunity to become a mediator. It would be, and is, beneficial to any aspiring leader who truly wants to create positive change in a world full of conflict. The resolution of much of what we find difficult lies in the tiny detail of every human interaction. This course gives that insight and unlocks the pathways to avoid and overcome the seemingly unresolvable.”

Rory Christie, Director, Dourie Farming Co Ltd | Spring School 2018 Participant

For more information, please send an email to or call +44 131 524 8188.

How is the course delivered?

Interactive and practical learning of skills and techniques, supported by our highly skilled and experienced coaches.

The course includes workshops each day using case studies, role play, demonstrations, video feedback and one-to-one coaching.

You will learn:

• The different stages in communication, problem-solving, negotiation and decision-making
• How best to prepare and plan for difficult negotiations
• Essential communication strategies to use when under pressure
• Effective questioning techniques to get to the heart of a problem
• How to build and maintain rapport and working relationships in difficult situations
• Strategies to deal with emotion, polarisation and anger
• Techniques to break impasse and deadlock
• How to find creative solutions to problems based on real interests and needs
• How to undertake the role of the independent facilitator

Benefits to you, your organisation and others:

• Enhanced leadership and decision-making in tough situations
• Savings in time and cost
• Better and more productive business relationships
• Enhanced morale and effectiveness in the workplace and boardroom
• More effective approaches to difficult negotiations
• Collaborative problem-solving with colleagues, clients and contractors
• High performance handling of complaints
• Reduction in disputes and better managed conflict
• Improved management and assessment of risk

What will I receive at the end?

Upon completion of the Residential Summer School,  participants will be presented with a Certificate of  Attendance to commemorate the experience.

Course Leaders

Our course leaders are well recognised for the excellent standards they set and for the impact they have on participants.

John Sturrock KC is founder and Chief Executive of Core and has been described as “the foremost mediator in Scotland” and “one of the best teachers of mediation”.

Liz Rivers was a commercial litigation lawyer in London for 10 years. She is a highly experienced mediator and executive coach, working in a wide variety of organisations.

Charlie Woods is formerly a Director and Chief Economist at Scottish Enterprise with extensive experience of industry and now a skilled mediator.

Hugh Donald OBE is formerly Chairman of a large Scottish legal firm, a mediator since the 1980’s and a highly regarded coach and mentor.

Read more about our course leaders


Residential Summer School: Using Mediation Skills as Leaders and Professionals

CPD: 30+ hours

Our Summer School is designed for leaders and is a full residential experience. A stand-alone course, it also serves as Module One for those looking to take Module 2: Building Mediator Competence & Assessment.

For full information, please contact or call 0131 524 8188.

Module 2: Building Mediator Competence & Assessment

CPD: 32+ hours

For those who wish to proceed with mediator assessment, this four day mediator competency and assessment module gives you the opportunity to achieve Core’s highly regarded accreditation: Certificate of Competence in Mediation Skills.

The first two days will be focussed on building and refining your mediation and negotiation skills, through practical application and video feedback.

The latter two days will involve a practical assessment on each day, with one to one feedback from professional mediators.

The Core courses are recognised by Scottish Mediation and by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, who will award Membership to applicants upon successful completion of the Core training.

Successful candidates may also be invited to observe Core mediators at mediations to provide additional experience and CPD.

Further Testimonials

What they say about us


“Thank you so much for such an inspiring few days. I thoroughly enjoyed the course – I learned a huge amount and found mediation to be a better, progressive and positive approach to solving problems than anything I have experienced before… the course was presented in a very engaging, thought provoking and fun way.”
Rosemary Scrimgeour, Creative Director, Building Workshop

“This is the best training I’ve ever been on. Why? Very skilled trainers – and they were very skilled both as trainers and as mediators; an eclectic mix of methods, exercises, information which drew together a powerful body of evidence, much of which I hadn’t been aware of previously; participants with an incredible breadth of experience and variety of backgrounds; an encouraging environment which enabled us to try out new techniques and support each other; and sufficient time for us to gel as a group, away from every day distractions.”
Lesley Irving, Head of Equality Policy, Scottish Government | Summer School 2017 Participant

“Just a quick one to say how much I enjoyed the course last week.  It was a real pleasure.  What a diverse group and a privilege to share so many different ideas about the more human aspects of the mediation process.  I came away with an open heart and an open mind and I am sure I will make great use of the experience going forward.”
Summer School Participant 2017

“A fantastic Course that is unquestionably transformational for any nature of professional, and has provided the basis upon which I have gone on to re-appraise and evolve the way in which I do all my business.  In particular it both consolidated and honed the critical skills of listening and hearing, thereby properly enabling that ‘better conversation’ – you cannot understand what you haven’t heard!”
James Johnston, Director, Transcend Change Ltd | Spring School 2017 Participant

“Within a few hours of starting this course, I could see the commercial return it would make. Within a few days of finishing it, I was already recouping the investment. For anyone involved in any form of commercial dispute resolution, I doubt there is a more cost-effective investment than this intense course.  What’s more, I’m now finessing a new skill set that’s enriching most aspects of my business and personal life as well as directly benefiting the bottom line.”
Douglas Campbell, Head of Corporate Support, Clydesdale Bank | Spring School Participant 2017

“The whole experience was first class and superbly organised – it was informative, thought-provoking, challenging and immensely enjoyable.”
Gillian Carmichael Lemaire, Director, Carmichael Lemaire Ltd | Spring School Participant 2017

“I am really pleased that I have undertaken this course. The skill set is useful for life let alone mediation. It was a real privilege to meet and learn from the course teaching team, who all have huge reputations in this field. All of them have a really calm approach but are able to elicit areas for development and were quite direct about challenges, but encouraging at the same time. I wish I had had time to do this course a long time ago!​”
Dame Sue Bruce | Summer School Participant 2015 

“Easily the most transformational course I have ever attended. The learning and skills developed have already paid dividends, unlocking some challenging situations and delivering results within days. John Sturrock and his colleagues are leaders in their field and freely shared their expertise with warmth, compassion and joy. If you have the opportunity to attend this course do all you can to make it happen.”
Oonagh Gil, Deputy Director, Scottish Government | Summer School Participant 2015

“The format of the course allowed me to gain invaluable practical experience of negotiation, mediation and conflict management skills and techniques, [and]… the opportunity to connect with highly skilled, friendly and engaging professionals from business and the public sector. It was the most challenging and rewarding training I have ever undertaken.”
Spring 2015 Participant

“By far the best course I have ever attended. I wish I had done it years ago. John and his colleagues are excellent and passionate teachers. Two and a half years on, I still frequently return to the course materials and my notes”
Anna Howard, Non-Practising Solicitor and PhD Candidate, Queen Mary University of London | Autumn 2014 Participant 

“A brilliant course… and whether you become a mediator or not, it will change and enhance how you work and view the world.”
Campbell Gemmell, Consulting Partner, Canopus Scotland Autumn 2014 Participant

“One of the few training courses that actually changes employee behaviours and makes them think differently about dispute resolution and mediation’s place in the process. Colleagues have found the sessions challenging and inspiring and they have been able to use their learnings practically to improve customer service and their working environment when handling disputes.”
Jeff Hartley, Head of Group Customer Relations RBS, 2003-2015

“It simply is the best course I’ve ever attended. The whole module was incredibly interesting, engaging and challenging!”
Senior HR Professional, major bank 

“I have undertaken many courses in my time, however I can honestly say that there is no course that compares with yours for making you stop and think and look inwards to challenge your own thinking and filters.”
Senior Health Professional 

“I have found the course to be a positive and inspiring experience, which has challenged my professional practices and caused me to consider what is important. It should be compulsory!”
Senior Lawyer

“This was one of the most valuable learning experiences I have had in years.  The presenters and other contributors were superb. Never seen better.”
Senior NHS Professional

“It sounds like a cliché but is nevertheless true: Core’s flagship Mediation and Conflict Management course was the best, most valuable and rewarding training course I have attended and is undoubtedly a hard act to follow.”

“As good as they come, seriously. A great many lawyers and non-lawyers would benefit from what you teach.”

“I thought the course was superb – one of the most fulfilling (albeit difficult) experiences I have ever had….it has made me think very differently about what I have been doing for the last 20 years … and may even have changed my outlook on life to a significant degree!”
Senior legal practitioner

“In 20 years of attending educational and skills training courses, I am happy to say that this was the most informative, useful and enjoyable I have yet been to.”
Partner, law firm

“Quite the best I have been on. I was genuinely very impressed. I can see that the techniques we were being taught were used in the conception and delivery of the course itself.”
Partner, professional services firm

“My colleagues both work on very high profile projects which require them to deal with a good deal of conflict and I consider your course to be the best there is in helping anyone to meet these challenges.”
Senior manager in major accountancy firm

“Excellent course. Entertainingly presented with high quality trainers. Has given me more cause for thought than most other courses I have attended. I increasingly became convinced over the course that mediation can and does work.”
Corporate adviser, oil and gas company

“I found the course exhilarating, extremely hard work and most thought provoking. This course has been far more useful as it concentrated very much on my development as well as giving me the opportunity of benefiting from others’ experiences.”
Senior manager in Top 3 accountancy firm

“I find the Core training to be the best I have experienced in my time in private practice because of the ability to get underneath the surface of what is going on.”
Partner in large law firm

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