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Ex-dragon promotes work experience

Work experience should count towards degrees says James Caan. Students
should be able to gain extra marks towards their degrees from
experience gained in the work place according to recruitment guru James

“I have found over the years that graduates can fill three pages with
details of their dissertations yet tell prospective employers nothing
about their practical experience,” said Mr Caan, the star of BBC TV’s
‘Dragons’ Den’.

“How does the employer know whether they have the discipline to turn up
for work every day? Whether they can take on responsibility? Or whether
they are prepared to knuckle down to a task?” Mr Caan, who’s
recruitment company Hamilton Bradshaw Human Capital has been named as
the fastest growing recruitment company worldwide, went on to say that
modern employers needed to know more about prospective employees than
simple proof of academic ability.

James Caan’s new book ‘Get the Job You Really Want’ is published by
Penguin this week and mentors jobseeker in seeking the best employers,
getting a foot in the door, how to thrive in the interview and how
close the deal on a job offer. “I was giving a talk at Cambridge
University. There were 300 graduates in the room and I am sure many of
them were sitting there thinking, ‘I’d love to work for someone like
James Caan’. Yet only a handful waited until the conference was
finished and approached me directly. They were the few who had the
confidence and the initiative to make their mark in the job market,”
said Mr Caan.

Some Universities are already considering methods of incorporating work
and business skills in their degree programmes. Paul Jackson, director
of student support and development at the University of Leicester, said
the university was ‘looking closely at how to embed corporate skills
into the curriculum at the undergraduate stage’.

University College London (UCL) is believed to be looking at ways of
translating job skills into degree credits and Durham University may
also award additional marks for work experience. “The job market has
never been tougher,” said Mr Caan. ” It is imperative that students are
able to utilise and demonstrate all their skills as soon as possible to
make them employable.”

“Universities should do more to help students make the connection with
businesses. Some Universities do more than others to help this process
which inevitably means that there are students who miss out on
opportunities like work placements because they don’t know how to find
them.” James Caan was a late entrant to further education himself –
graduating from Harvard Business School in 2003.

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