Lord Coe says skills being taught on the scheme are "essential"
A leadership scheme aimed at helping to provide disadvantaged young people with training ahead of the London 2012 Games has begun.
The 18-month Young Leaders Programme aims to equip a selected group of 100 young people with practical skills.
The scheme was set up to fulfill part of the London 2012 organisers' bid promise to inspire Britain's youth.
Those taking part will get the chance to put their skills into action as part of the Games' volunteer force.
The group of young people, aged at least 16, will get the chance to improve their communication and leadership skills through special volunteering projects, mentoring programmes and community events.
The skills being taught are "essential" to the success of the Games, according to London 2012 chairman Lord Coe.
Coaching support and guidance from Olympians, Paralympians and 100 BP employees will be offered throughout the programme, which takes place between April 2010 and the end of the Games in September 2012.
The original 100 young people on the scheme will earn their place on the programme by showing a commitment to the scheme and explaining how they feel being part of it could help them.
Organisers believe the example of the youngsters taking part in the scheme might encourage others to also help out with community projects.
Lord Coe said: "Volunteering is not only an integral part of creating positive change in communities and developing skills in young people, but also essential to the success of the Games.
"Through this project we will be able to help develop the skills in the young people and engage young people across the UK, taking them on a personal journey of development."