AS A former long jumper, Neil Cameron knows all about taking a leap of faith.

He is also fully aware of the way sport can inspire young lives, as well as how easy it can be for those dreams to turn into nightmares.

Neil was once one of Britain’s top 25 long jumpers, receiving training by those that propelled Jonathan Edwards and Chris Tomlinson to superstardom in the world’s grandest and most famous sporting arenas.

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But like so many athletes, injury was to cast a crushing blow on his aspirations, and he had to turn his attentions elsewhere, but sport was never far from his mindset.

He went into coaching, spent some time as a lecturer teaching sport science and also worked in sports management.

However, whether it was washing cars as an eight-year-old or selling fruit and veg 12 months later, it is clear his desire to become an entrepreneur was there from a young age

“It is fair to say I have always been entrepreneurial. I’ve always had that vision of climbing the career ladder.”

And seven years ago, in his bedroom, he would mix that desire with his life-long passion, and Sport Works came to life.

“Sport is a fantastic engaging role. It is great to see so many disadvantaged and disabled young people prosper thanks to the power of sport” said Neil, managing director of Sport Works.

“There are so many skills youngsters can develop when they play a sport as well as all the obvious health benefits. Whether it is fair play, team work or individual responsibility. All will be useful when they embark on their chosen career.”

Sport Works engages with around 2,000 young people each year to improve the education outcomes of those who struggle to have an interest in traditional classroom learning.

“It’s about changing individuals perceptions of themselves because until you can instil self-belief, you will never change the outcome.

“I have been fortunate to work with some of sports’ greats and experience what is required mentally to succeed, or cope with failure, at the very highest level.

“We’re not looking for the next Alan Shearer, we simply want to improve outcomes in young people.”

When the Olympics came to London in 2012, the games’ “Inspire a Generation” campaign was expected to result in many more youngsters taking up regular sport across the country

However, the figure actually fell in the years following London 2012.

So was the campaign a flop? Neil doesn’t think so.

“London was definitely a flagship moment. It is important to remember that it wasn’t just competitors inspired by the Olympics.

“We saw more people wanting to become coaches, more people wanting to become trainers and more people wanting to work in sport in general.”

The legacy did result in an unprecedented scenario. Great Britain returned from Rio with a larger medal haul than they achieved during their home games four years previously.

Neil believes the region is in a perfect position to capitalise on such a boom.

“We have really good opportunities to inspire people with sport in the North-East. There are the three major football clubs, the Newcastle Falcons rugby and Newcastle Eagles basketball teams.”

It is hard to see Neil’s love and passion for sport ending any time soon, but if he did feel like a career change, he says he could see himself one day as an international DJ.

“I love music and everything that goes with travel and seeing different cultures. I would certainly see myself doing something quite random.”

Sport Works is now looking to develop its traineeship and apprenticeship programmes, and is looking for companies in the sport and leisure industry to get involved.

“Our mission is to improve outcomes for young people, both educationally and helping them towards the jobs market, and traineeships and apprenticeships are a great way to do this.”

“In helping young people achieve qualifications they might not have otherwise had access to, we can develop their confidence as well as giving them the skills they need to start their career.”