CAREERS: How I Got Here - Tim Street, director, FPA, Scotland

What was your first job? I was a window cleaner, which always leads to George Formby gags.

What does your current role involve? I lead FPA's drive to improve Scotland's sexual health, through our training, consultancy, project and policy work.

The National Sexual Health Strategy is due soon and will provide plenty of challenges over the coming year.

Roughly outline your career path After admin work in the textile industry, I joined the public sector in a benefits office. I moved to Scotland to work on the BBC's radio helpline, and for a few years I volunteered in a hostel for the homeless. My jobs since have been based in health promotion and on improving public health services. I have focused on men's health and sexual health because a lot of work needs to be done to shift cultural perceptions.

What training or course has most enhanced your career? I completed a counselling course five years ago, which hugely improved my self-awareness, self-confidence and communication skills.

What has been your greatest career achievement? I set up a network of practitioners and health promotion workers in sexual health across Scotland in 1998. It proves you can get people to share good practice and support each other to learn what works, rather than working separately, duplicating mistakes and slowing down the process of improving national services.

What is your advice to people starting out in the sector? Always remember that working in this field is about improving the lives of ordinary people, however idealistic that may sound. It's a weighty responsibility but ensures that you strive to get things absolutely right.

Are there any charities you support financially, or with time? Save the Children and Amnesty International.

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