A NEW Addington woman who wants to be Croydon's first female MP was told by a career advisor she should stick to stacking shelves.
Rosina St James, 23, went to Addington High School when it was struggling under the inadequate ratings given by Ofsted.
Rosina, pictured right, said: "The school had a bad image, that pupils who went there would never achieve," she said.
"People would say girls like me just get pregnant young and never get good grades.
"When I went to a career advisor and told her I wanted to be a politician, she said to me I should work as a shop assistant or stack shelves in supermarkets."
Rosina, who went on to study at London School of Economics, be president of the Afro-Caribbean Society and vice-chair of the British Youth Council, said the meeting was one of the defining moments of her life.
"It was really crushing but I just thought 'No way, I have ambitions and I will chase them'," she said.
During school and university since the age of 14, she volunteered for Croydon Council as a youth worker and then worked for the anti-gang group Safer London Foundation.
She also set up a business to empower women and is now about to launch a new project resettling ex-offenders back into the community.
She said: "Statistically the age group 18 to 25 is the one most likely to re-offend but it is also the most likely to desist from crime altogether, so it's important to catch young people early. Youth centres and activities for young people are being closed down in Croydon and nothing is being created to replace them.
"I think my generation want to be involved in their community and make a difference.
"They need more job opportunities and opportunities to put something back into society.
"There are 70,000 young people in Croydon and there is a lack of confidence and opportunity, people do not expect much from them. I want to change that."
In the future, Rosina said she would like to become a Croydon councillor before running to become the first female MP in one of the three seats.
On Saturday, Rosina will be speaking at a Technology Entertainment Design-inspired event at the BRIT School along with 12 others to discuss the consequences of the 2011 riots and inspire youngsters to create a platform for new ideas.
The TEDx programme has been launched to allow communities to run their own talks at a local level.
"Young voices are not being heard and this is a good opportunity to make people sit up and listen," Rosina said.
For more details, visit tedxyouthcroydon.com.