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Our Champions and partners form the core of our Supporters – read more about them and their role in the Champions network

Colette O’Brien
Training and Development Manager
CfBT Advice and Guidance

Colette is the Training and Development Manager for the National Careers Service in the North East, employed by CfBT Advice and Guidance, the Prime Contractor for this contract.

Colette came across Windmills about ten years ago when the Windmills team were disseminating their career management tools as part of a project with the National Learning and Skills Council.  As a Careers practitioner in County Durham at the time, the team of advisers she worked with felt that the tools would be suitable to help in one-to-one and group based Careers Information, Advice and Guidance activities on a whole range of career related issues to adults aged 18 and over.

More recently Colette has again engaged with the Windmills team by training as a champion with her colleagues to utilise further aspects of the portfolio and support the clients group they work with.

Of the Windmills resources, the team and the Windmills approach Colette says:Our advisers have loved being able to use the Windmills resources with customers.  They have used them successfully in one to one interviews and in groups, with some very positive feedback from customers.  They particularly like using the Skills cards and the Golden Ticket exercises.  
The training and ongoing support we have received from the Windmills Team has been first class.  Helen and Sharon are always on hand for questions and advice where necessary.  
We now have a waiting list of advisers wanting to train in the use of the resources, so I will soon be booking the Windmills Team for more training this autumn.


Charlene Binding
Career Development Lead
East Midlands Local Education and Training Board

Charlene has been a Champion for seven years, having first come across Windmills at a CIAG event where she engaged in activities from Windmills that she believed would support the Doctors she worked with. Recognising changes in the world of medical careers and the need for Foundation Doctors to engage with some high quality, innovative and creative ways of reflecting on their career direction and next steps, Charlene approached Windmills to become a champion and build capacity within the team she managed.

Seven years on Charlene now regularly supports hundreds of doctors each year. She has expanded the original programme of materials and workshops into more specialised areas such as doctors wishing to re-evaluate their career direction due to personal circumstances/ill health as well as working more widely with medical students in the LETB’s two partner medical schools (Leicester and Nottingham), and doctors in training of all grades along with their educators throughout the East Midlands region. She has also trained further Champions not only in East Midlands but in their partner medical training organisation in Malta.

Of Windmills and what she has benefitted from both personally and professionally she says……

‘I continue to benefit from Windmills in so many ways: in terms of how I think, how I feel and how I act both in my personal and professional life. So I guess it’s not just about ‘doing’ Windmills, it’s a lifestyle choice too. As an organisation, we continue to develop our programme of activities using Windmills in a variety of innovative and creative ways and we continue to appreciate the relationship we have with Helen, Pete and colleagues in the Windmills team. The Windmills ethos also fits closely with our values as a learning organisation and we are extremely proud to be associated with Windmills.’


 Anthony Standing
Head of Regional Operations North
Skills Development Scotland
Anthony has been a long-standing supporter of Windmills. Working for Skills Development Scotland, Anthony first encountered Windmills when Windmills worked in partnership with SDS on an innovative programme of support for young people called I-Hero. This utilised the STAR resources combined with other online activities and tools to engage S8 & S9 students in schools in the Highlands and Islands to reflect on their educational choices.Anthony trained as a Champion to utilise the wider tool-kit of Windmills resources with the project and work that SDS supported in the North of Scotland. He then became heavily involved in two further projects that Windmills collaborated on:1)      The Rich-Task projects which engaged young people to explore their futures and add value to the work they were doing in schools with additional project experiences

2)      The Kinloss closure when utilising No Regrets on Sunday, champions in the locality were trained to offer support in the closure process for those involved



Julie Holden
Managing Director – Smart Development Solutions


Julie became a Windmills Champions when she worked for Liverpool Victoria and engaged in a capacity building programme with them. She saw the potential to maximise her skills and passions not only in work related to LV but in supporting young people and their career aspirations. Fuelled by this she set up Smart Development Solutions and offered a range of support for local schools including the Windmills STAR resource aimed at young people determining their Skills, Treasures, Ambitions and Roles in life.

4 years on Julie has extended her portfolio of support for schools further and has collaborated further with LV to help fulfil their CSR commitments within the local Bournemouth and surrounding areas.

Of Windmills and what she has benefitted from both personally and professionally she says…..

The STAR programme has been a brilliant resource for me to help students understand more about themselves and what they want to achieve in the future.  Combining this programme with sponsorship from a local company not only enables schools to provide a programme they would not ordinarily be able to fund, but also give the students access to employees who tell the students about their own personal career journey.  Combining real life stories is so beneficial for the students, and the employees who support these programmes gain personal development and real sense of helping the young people consider their futures. A Win:Win all round!