CAREERS: How I Got Here - Slaney Wright, project co-ordinator, Fairbridge (London)

What was your first job?

I worked in a bakery around the corner from my school when I was 15. I also did a lot of babysitting.

What does your current role involve? Fairbridge caters for inner-city youth and I manage two courses and the Young Persons Forum. During the Web Awareness course, young people create their own web site and in Learn to Earn they start their own business. Aside from developing the courses, I ensure that the young people are supported, that staff, resources and budget are fully utilised, and I liaise with our sponsors AOL (UK) and Deutsche Bank Group.

Roughly outline your career path. After studying biology at Leeds University, I worked as a graphic designer for an online shop in London. A year later I set off to live in La Paz, Bolivia, where I co-ordinated a volunteer project in a state-run home for abandoned and abused children. I also taught English and established projects throughout Bolivia for visiting teams of British youth volunteers. After two years in Bolivia, I worked briefly in Ecuador developing educational materials for a conservation NGO and returned to the UK in late 2002. I started at Fairbridge in February.

What training or course has most enhanced your career?

Teaching English as a foreign language taught me the art of explaining things without speaking, a surprisingly useful tool.

What has been your greatest career achievement? Providing the children in La Paz with a tiny bit of reliability and understanding in their chaotic lives.

What is your advice to people starting out in the sector?

Stick at it. Speak to as many people in the sector as possible and find out as much as you can about the place you want to work. Telling people about how you can help them is much more interesting than telling them about yourself.

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