Singer who toured world becomes a mentor to inspire Redbridge youngsters

A music star who has performed at Glastonbury and toured all over the world has now set himself a new challenge – to become a student mentor.

Afjal Miah, 31, former lead vocalist of band Asian Dub Foundation, started working at Redbridge College in Barley Lane, Little Heath, last week.

The college employs a team of four mentors who support students by acting as a link between them and the academic staff.

Afjal recorded three studio albums with the Mercury Prize-nominated band between 1999 and 2007, touring alongside industry heavyweights such as The Prodigy, Sean Paul and Radiohead.

After starting a family, the charismatic frontman decided to leave full-time music behind and pursue a career in education.

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He said: “I’ve been lucky enough to visit lots of fantastic places on tour and meet many wonderful people.

“What I want to do is use my experiences to show young people that if they work hard there are great opportunities out there for them.

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“I can talk to students on their level and there is a rapport there. I have been getting involved with everything from ICT and business to cooking and I want to make college fun for the students who I love being around.”

Before joining the college, Afjal gained experience as a teaching assistant and worked with young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties at a variety of different schools.

The father-of-two, from Wapping, added: “I have been through most things that these students are experiencing. My aim is to make sure young people are getting the best out of themselves.

“It’s all about building a trust, and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.”

Afjal, also known by his stage name MC Spex, continues to be active as a musician and will be performing at gigs and festivals this summer and outside of term time.

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