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Manchester Solutions – A New Toolkit for the National Careers Service in Manchester

A full copy of this partnership case study project is available as a downloadable PDF here.

manchester solutions



Manchester Solutions is part of a not-for-profit group of companies delivering a wealth of skills, training, employment and recruitment services to businesses and individual customers across Greater Manchester as part of the National Careers Service provision.

Having sampled the Windmills portfolio personally, Lydia Lauder, Service Development Associate, Manchester Solutions, was convinced that National Careers Service customers would benefit from the Windmills approach to career and personal development. Lydia recognised that the concepts and models of career planning behind the Windmills approach reflected careers guidance and motivational theoretical frameworks but at the same time the portfolio of activities created a very practical delivery experience for the participant.



The intention was to enhance the effectiveness of group sessions for ‘Hard to Reach’ individuals including those dealing with issues of lack of motivation, engagement or interest in self development and newly redundant/ higher skilled customers.

Lydia, commented ‘the range of Windmills tools promotes creativity and advanced professional practice through providing an eclectic mix of tools and widening the ‘guidance toolkit’ as well as giving the flexibility to operate across a changing customer demographic.

A capacity building programme was designed and delivered which included key elements of the Windmills portfolio as listed below – they can also be seen in more detail in our portfolio.

  • Plates Activity
  • Skills Cards
  • Value Cards
  • Golden Ticket
  • Action Planning Cards
  • Walls and Windmills Analysis


Comments from the Champions on how the Windmills activities had impacted on their customers were overwhelmingly positive. With all the Champions delighted that the Windmills tools had helped them to help their customers more effectively.

‘Really pleased with how the exercise got my client to open up and engage with me as her adviser. Previous conversations with her had been limited and potentially lacked any real focus, however, having used the lottery balls exercise this all changed.’

Equally the Champions found – some to their surprise – that the Windmills tools were well received by their customers and that as a consequence both the customer and the adviser enjoyed the experience. Reflecting on delivering the golden ticket in a one to one session one Champion commented ‘I learned that customers can respond well to an activity that may be out of the ordinary for them and this can break boundaries and preconceptions.’

One Champion’s experience reinforced the flexibility and adaptability of the Windmills resources for different customer groups with individual needs. One customer in their group was deaf but was still able to participate in the session using the Windmills Action Planning cards and according to the Champion ‘identified key actions for themselves just like the rest of the group”