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Time to Lift Off

August 19th, 2013 by Helen Wakefield

Our new windmills 3-Thinking approach has helped launch airbase employees into new careers.   Responding to the dramatic decision to close the Nimrod airbase at Kinloss, Windmills, in partnership with Skills Development Scotland (SDS), has helped hundreds of employees and their families to create a new runway to their future.

Faced with turbulent winds of change, staff at all levels were trying to tackle complex decisions affecting themselves, their families and their communities.  In turn, the fabric of the local community had been fractured by not only a loss of economic activity but also potential loss of invaluable family members who have volunteered for years in the third sector across the neighbouring community.  Schools, public services, charities and local businesses were also being impacted upon.

Delivering a capacity building train-the-trainer programme Windmills equipped a team of SDS careers advisors and volunteers across the airbase including union members, instructors and specialist defence staff with tools and techniques to enable colleagues to take control of their future.

Utilising the No Regrets Programme as a practical resource, this cascade model enabled champions to deliver a range of 1:1 and group based sessions.

Feedback from a cohort of 24 employees highlights it’s impact.  This is demonstrated in the chart below.   All employees were asked the same questions before and after the programme and scored their answers  from 1 = poor to 5 = outstanding.

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Comments included:


“The programme’s value lies in the positive stimulation it provides in the company of other people in the same situation”.

“It’s given me the confidence to pursue what I really want to do, and that is running a local children’s nursery”.

“It’s helped our whole family to make a collective decision on our future, a decision based on what matters to each of us”.

“Insightful, enlightening and wonderful programme which has helped me to gain a greater sense of control”.


Rather than simply lifting off to the next career opportunity at a different airbase, many participants have made informed life decisions to blend their working, learning, playing and giving locally.  By creating the space to build their own personalised runways individuals have landed similar roles in the oil and gas industry; re-focused their skills to create their own community social enterprises; linked their coaching skills with a passion for transport to become a driving instructor as well as becoming leaders in local economic development.


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