Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling was the guest of honour at the launch of Downside Fisher Youth Club's new Teenage Job Club.
Devised by local Conservative parliamentary candidate Loanna Morrison, the club will be the first of its kind to offer young people in the area career advice and training through a membership system.
"I think she's done a really good job in organising this," Chris Grayling told guests at the launch. He encouraged members of the youth club to believe in their own ability: "This can be a real launching pad for the rest of your lives," he said.
Other speakers at the launch event included Dr Jack Lewis from Sky 1's 'Body Language Secrets', Laura Avery from Central Saint Martin College of Arts & Design and Chris Wilson from Southwark Chamber of Commerce. The speakers were introduced by Chris Dick, chairman of the Downside Fisher Youth Club.
As well as advice on motivation and presentation, young people attending the launch event will received a green starter membership card.
The Teenage Job Club will collaborate with local businesses to offer free advice, assessment, career strategies as well as training and introduction to potential employers for young people in the borough.
By taking part in the club's activities they can progress to a gold and platinum membership card.
"This incredible project will reflect our passion for ensuring a brighter future for young people," says Loanna Morrison.
"It will also have a positive impact on raising awareness in the business community to the potential of our young people. I strongly believe that the 'Fast-Track' system will be a good way of nurturing and encouraging our young people while achieving a practical outcome."
• Next week all the main parliamentary candidates for Bermondsey and Old Southwark will take part in a young people's hustings event at Downside Fisher Youth Club.
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