Careers: How I Got Here - Peter Brown, chief commander, St John Ambulance

What was your first job? I joined St John Ambulance as a junior, now called Badgers, and then became a cadet in 1958. I was appointed as divisional officer in 1964 giving me responsibility for running my cadet unit.

What does your current role involve? I am responsible for St John across England. This includes our 45,000 volunteers, our youth programme (over half our members are 18 or under) and charitable and commercial activities. I also develop policy and drive the charity forward. I spend a lot of time travelling to meet our volunteers, and help provide first aid on public duties such as the London marathon.

Roughly outline your career path? My career as a volunteer has taken me from cadet leader to divisional superintendent. I encouraged youth involvement in St John through an array of initiatives, including the County Youth Council and an annual youth conference.

I became chief commissioner youth in 2000, and became chief commander two years later. In addition to volunteering for St John, I have been a primary school teacher and a headteacher for 33 years, and now work as an educational consultant.

What training has most enhanced your career? My first-aid training. Not only has it been crucial to my career at St John, but also as a teacher.

It has enabled me to ensure that every pupil qualified in first aid in the schools where I worked.

What has been your greatest career achievement? Being awarded the British Empire medal for services to St John.

What is your advice to people starting out in this sector? Enjoy it!

Do not give your time and energy for nothing - you must enjoy what you do and derive some personal benefit from it.

Are there any other charities you support financially, or with time?

Yes. I give money to Barnardo's.

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