WANT to know how to convince No voters that independence is the best way forward for Scotland? Teaching that is the aim of an innovative scheme launched by Business for Scotland (BfS).

Fifty Yes group leaders from around Scotland were in Glasgow last night as part of a drive to train 1000 activists ahead of a second independence referendum.

Key influencers at a grassroots level travelled from as far as Berwick and Bute for the launch of the Ambassador Training Programme.

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The event kicked off at 6pm, though many of the eager participants – drawn from the likes of the Scottish Independence Convention and Christians for Yes – packed out the room by 5.30pm.

With the prospect of a second referendum in the not-too-distant future, BfS’s 2014 ambassador programme has been redesigned as a tool to help kickstart a new push for independence.

The programme, initially developed during the 2014 campaign to enable businesses to sell and win the economic argument, will arm participants with tools on how to frame the arguments and convert No voters. It will do so by providing a package of support and campaign materials.

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BfS will be running a series of events across Scotland offering face-to-face training at a cost of £25 per head. There will also be the option of online training for the same price.

“We ran a pilot scheme and everybody said one thing: ‘Why are we only doing this for business people?’” said Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, founder of BfS and columnist at The National.

“Let’s get this out there to the wider movement. Let’s change it so it’s not just for business and it’s about the skills that you need in pubs, the skills that you need in the streets and street stalls and marches.”

The scheme has a fully developed online learning programme and will also equip participants with an extensive list of suggested answers to frequently asked questions and a mobile app that will provide those involved with instant rebuttals.

MacIntyre-Kemp believes the grassroots movement is as strong as ever and wants to move the 45% that voted for independence previously into a “winning position” even before another referendum is called.

“I think what worked in 2014, what actually drove the vote, was the grassroots campaign,” he said.

“It was local groups having conversations with their friends and neighbours. It was Yes Aberdeen, Yes Glasgow, Yes Edinburgh, it was those groups out there talking to people.

“The grassroots movement has never been more keen to see an independence referendum because we know we can win from 45%.”

Irene McEwan, Berwickshire,

“This has shown such professionalism, my mind is full of it in such a positive way, I feel truly inspired. It’s given me a way forward and in Berwickshire we have a difficult area but I can now see ways of getting through to people we don’t normally get through to.”

What the participants at last night's event said:

Campbell McEwan, Berwickshire
“I don’t want to be negative, but I have just realised how many terrible mistakes were made in 2014 and we don’t want to make them again. This has been inspiring and informative.”

John Duncan, Bute
“Its really important to equip people with the skills to engage constructively and effectively with people open to persuasion. This Ambassador Training is the catalyst and will cascade out to the wider movement. I will definitely take this back to Yes Bute and SNP Bute also.”

Linda Morpurgo, Glasgow
“I have been out of the movement since just after the vote in 2014 but coming to the meeting and hearing about the ambassador training has made me want to re-engage – I find the whole idea inspiring.”