My work involves supporting full-time volunteers from around the world who volunteer for 35 to 40 hours a week here in the UK, either working with people in their homes or on community projects. My job is to assist the volunteers if they're homesick or worried about anything.
How did you move into this role?
I went straight from school into an administrative position, and through that started volunteering for a youth group. When I was 19 I became a Prince's Trust team leader for three years. I then went on to become a Millennium Volunteers programme manager. That gave me the experience I needed for this job.
What's the best piece of training you've ever received?
When I got into volunteering, it changed my life. I was 18, working for a government department, and they sent me on a week-long personal development course in Wales because I was lacking direction. Both the training leaders and my peers on the course told me I had a gift with people and that I shouldn't be behind a desk, but should really be out actively helping young people with their lives. It was because of that that I got into volunteering.
What's been your greatest career achievement to date?
I mentored a girl for three years who, though exceptionally bright, came from a disadvantaged background. She wanted to be a doctor but - for various reasons - ended up falling behind at school and eventually dropped out.
I started working a lot more closely with her even though previously my role had been quite hands-off. After some discussions and actively looking at education prospectuses with her, she eventually enrolled at an adult college and has now gone on to study medicine at university. I'm so proud to have been able to help her realise her goals.
What's the best career-related advice you've ever received?
My first manager at the Prince's Trust told me that I had to get over the fact that not everyone was going to like me. I was working with people of my own age at the time and found it difficult to be firm with them because I didn't want them not to like me. My manager made me realise that saying 'no' is sometimes the best thing to do.