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Newcastle United players Sylvain Marveaux and Rob Elliot were leading efforts to boost the skills, confidence and teamwork of local schoolchildren yesterday by playing a starring role in a series of educational workshops at St. James' Park.

The duo joined children from Heworth Grange Secondary School as part of the United in Education programme, giving the youngsters a behind-the-scenes insight into what it takes to become a professional footballer.

Operated by the club's official charity, Newcastle United Foundation, in conjunction with sponsors Port of Tyne, United in Education enables children from across Tyneside to take part in the special two-hour workshops which are designed to enhance employability.

Each workshop includes a fun and interactive classroom-based lesson designed to develop children's skills and confidence, with activities including the creation of their own businesses selling football shirts and the chance to take part in a 'live' mini press conference.

Goalkeeper Rob, who also talked the children through his daily routine, said: "As players, we know how powerful football can be here in the North East and United for Education shows how the club's Foundation is using it to make a difference.

"It's great to get the chance to share our experiences with local children in such a positive way. It was a fun session."

Andrew Moffat, Port of Tyne Chief Executive Officer, added: "The Port of Tyne is excited to be working with the Newcastle United Foundation by developing a special programme designed to connect with young people and provide valuable employability skills.

"This programme provides the opportunity to overcome barriers in education by using football as a tool to motivate and inspire young people."