I have been at St Andrew’s for 8 years as a learning mentor. Prior to this I worked at the ‘You Can Centre’ based at Woodhouse Close for 3 years. I live in Sunderland and have been involved in the voluntary sector working alongside The Youth Engagement Service as a volunteer mentor and as a referral panel member, dealing with young offenders. Before working with young people, I worked in the clothing industry for 25 years as an engineer, repairing sewing machines and other equipment within the trade. I am also a qualified football referee, and have refereed local youth football for nearly 25 years. The voluntary work I did helped me choose a different career path and has been a great experience. My role as a learning mentor allows me to use my counselling skills as well as my life experiences, to help some children overcome their barriers to learning.