Dragon: Don't help kids find a job

James CaanParents should take a back seat when it comes to helping their children find jobs and should instead encourage them to make their own way in the world, the entrepreneur James Caan has said.

Mr Caan told the Daily Telegraph that parents should only step in and use any influence they may have if their sons or daughters struggle to find work within a year.
%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%The former Dragon's Den panellist, whom the Telegraph said has been appointed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as the Government's new social mobility tsar, also spoke out against young people taking unpaid internships, which he says limit social mobility.

Mr Caan told the newspaper that parents too often arrange for their children to gain work experience at top companies. He said that it was important for parents to "let the child stand on his own two feet", saying they should only step in after "the child has tried everything" and still not found a job. "You are trying to develop your child too; you don't want them to feel as though they don't have to make the effort," he said.
Mr Caan said that his not having been to private school made him work harder to prove himself and to gain opportunities. He said: "People from deprived backgrounds can be massively impactful on business - they have more to prove, they are more driven, more determined. In my own experience it was not easy, you always have to do that bit extra to stand out. You are hiring somebody to whom that opportunity is more valuable."

Mr Caan said companies have to do more to attract people from poorer backgrounds, and said he wanted to make firms "more aware of their obligations and social responsibilities" and to break the cycle of getting a good job being dependent on "people you know, or... the school that you went to or how you got in".

The former Dragon said he wanted companies to develop specific policies for paid work experience, saying it created "good discipline" on both sides. He said: "We are trying to create some awareness to make people understand the implications of some of their actions and the decisions they make."

In his first role as social mobility tsar, Mr Caan will on Wednesday help Mr Clegg launch Open Doors, an initiative to persuade firms to run open and fair recruitment, the Telegraph said.

Mr Clegg told the newspaper: "I'm thrilled James Caan is joining our campaign to make sure every young person has a fair chance to get the job that makes the best of their skills and talents. This is about putting an end to outdated and lazy recruitment where only young people with the right connections get a foot in the door. Wasting young talent is a tragedy that has huge economic implications for the country and I want to see more companies work towards making their recruitment process fairer."

Mr Caan told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think allowing children the opportunity to develop and find their own way through life is very good for society and very good for the kids. Not everybody is fortunate enough to be able to be as well connected and therefore to make it a slightly more fair society is something we should encourage. What I have found myself is when you take people on (who are) not from privileged backgrounds they tend to be more driven, they are more motivated, they have more to prove and generally can be an asset to an organisation."
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