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Volunteering England collaborates on a Crazy Paving approach to Volunteering and Employability

Windmills has collaborated with Volunteering England to create ‘The Art of Crazy Paving’,  (insert  link here to Art of Crazy Paving within the portfolio) an innovative learning resource revealing the crucial role of volunteering as a catalyst for employability and  as a stepping stone to students’ future careers.



Career paths are no longer linear and laid down for you for life.  They are more like crazy paving – you have to build them yourself in all sorts of creative and imaginative ways, using bits and pieces of opportunities.  But how do young people who are in the catch 22 of no job, no experience – no experience, no job, make the first few critical steps on their career journey?  This is where volunteering comes into its own.  Indeed, numerous studies have highlighted the employability and well-being benefits of ‘giving something back’ (New Economics Foundation, Best Companies, Harvard University).  But how can you teach young people ‘The Art of Crazy Paving’?


Windmills partnered with Volunteering England, a national lead body for the voluntary sector, to design, develop, deliver and disseminate a ground breaking resource and accompanying programme to help undergraduate students to maximise the employability benefits of volunteering whilst at University.  ‘The Art of Crazy Paving’ enables students to explore the myriad of roles and opportunities volunteering provides to develop their confidence, skills and connections and how ‘helping others can help yourself’.  A range of tools and techniques, exercises, case studies and top tips help individuals create their own pathway to career success.  Numerous major blue chip organisations have endorsed our thinking.  “It doesn’t matter if it’s paid or not but voluntary work would count just as much as paid work in our eyes”  Accenture; “Volunteering adds to the whole person” Pizza Hut; “Choosing to be a volunteer can show even greater initiative and commitment” HSBC.


The Art of Crazy Paving has helped shape student community action and volunteering provision within every University across the UK, benefitting tens of thousands of students.  As Steve Wade, student volunteer at the University of Loughborough sums it up “Want to change someone’s life? Then why not start with your own, and read the Art of Crazy Paving’.  Hundreds of small, local community organisations have also benefited from student volunteer support.  This impact is demonstrated by Bob Davies, President of the Merseyside Tuesday and Thursday clubs, a Toxteth based charity for adults with learning difficulties.  “Our voluntary organisation has benefitted enormously from students who have created their own crazy paving and used their skills and enthusiasm to lead weekly activities, help fundraise for our new minibus and organise trips away”. 

The resource and programme have also inspired numerous student volunteering leaders and managers to aspire to even higher impact roles within charities, education and the policy arena. 

We believe passionately that making a difference in the world makes a world of difference to you and have built on our learning with the Art of Crazy Paving to create the SMILE £10 Challenge  for primary pupils and the 3-Thinking Programme for professionals and leaders (click to link to 3T case study).  Windmills is also partnering with Mersey Care NHS Trust to empower Community Champions to make a difference in their localities by maximising their unique skills, passions, values and talents.