By Daniel Hunter

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is teaming up with entrepreneur and former Dragon’s Den judge James Caan to make access to jobs fair and open for all talented young people.

Launching a major new campaign, they will call on companies, large and small, to sign up and open their doors to young people from all walks of life.

The Opening Doors campaign is part of the Deputy Prime Minister’s social mobility drive. Over 150 of the UK’s major organisations have already signed up to offering fair and open access to their jobs and professions for young people, regardless of who they are or where they come from.

New YouGov research for the campaign published today suggests that young people in lower social grades are several rungs behind on the career ladder. Over a third of young people aged 16 to 25 from higher social grades who indicated which industry they would like to work in, already have a job in their chosen industry (33%), compared to just 5% of young people in lower social grades.

The research, commissioned by a number of UK law firms for the campaign, also suggests that young people from higher social grades have greater access to work opportunities in the search for their ideal career. The majority of young people from lower social grades (56%) say availability of work opportunities, including work experience, internships and apprenticeships, would help them get a job in their desired industry. Whereas only around a third of young people from more privileged backgrounds (37%) thought the availability of work opportunities would help them.

"We have a big problem in this country. Every year employers are closing their doors to talented young people. This is a terrible waste of talent and potential that could be otherwise boosting our economy and driving growth in our businesses," Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said.

"In good times this would be tragic. In tough economic times, it is unforgivable. Today I’m on a mission to ask companies, large and small, to open their doors to the incredible talent out there and sign up to our campaign."

To tackle the barriers to getting the jobs that young people are capable of and want to do, the Deputy Prime Minister has asked James Caan and Peter Searle, CEO of Adecco Group, the UK’s largest recruiter, to launch the Opening Doors Awards. The Awards, to be judged by Caan and Searle later this year, will be for companies that are doing outstanding work in this area.

"I’ve worked extremely hard to get where I am today, but I know that other people who have a similar background to me struggle to get the skills and training they need to get jobs or get into business," James Caan said.

"That’s why I’m joining forces with the Deputy Prime Minister - together we are committed to ensuring that no matter where you’re from, who your parents are, or what school you went to, you should be able to succeed in life and fulfil your potential by creating a fairer process to get a job."

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