London’s super rich ‘pay thousands for their children to learn about the real world’

Super-rich parents in London are paying consultants thousands of pounds to find work experience for their children so they can be taught about the “real world”.

Experts who advise the capital’s “ultra high net worth individuals” — who are worth at least £20 million — said many do not want their children to exist in a “bubble” so arrange work placements for them.

Others want their children to have experience of work so they understand the foundations and philanthropic trusts their families have set up.

Mayfair-based merchant bank Salamanca Group, which runs an education advisory service to help wealthy families navigate the British education system, has worked with 90 families already this year. It advises families on which schools to apply to, which tutors to use and how to write CVs.

Gabrielle Villani, director of Salamanca’s education services, said: “Increasingly the demand for our services has broadened from solely addressing children’s ever-evolving education needs to now incorporating tailored careers advice, and even work experience placements.”

Families are asking for “on the ground” experience rather than a “gilded” placement, even if that includes cleaning lavatories.

Mrs Villani said: “They want a true perspective of what’s going on in the world. The requirement has been for real-world experience for the work placements we have organised — in areas such as medicine and dentistry, law, banking, geo-political business research, finance, politics, photography, art, film and charitable work.”

It costs roughly the price of one term’s fees at a boarding school — about £10,000 — for a full school placement service, which involves finding the perfect school, taking children to interviews and buying uniforms.

The work experience placement is a separate service with the cost ranging from nothing, if a family is already paying for a school placement and the work experience is straightforward, to the low thousands, if it involves lots of research and planning.

Mrs Villani said London is attractive to some wealthy foreign families because their children can have more freedom and independence than in their home country.

They are no longer just attracted to the traditional “elite” private schools, but want their children to mix with people from different backgrounds.

Mrs Villani said: “Parents are looking to open their children’s reference point about life and for them to remain grounded. They also wish for them to be financially self-sustaining, to realise that they are in a privileged position and with this position comes the responsibility to give back to others.”

London is Europe’s top address for billionaires, according to Beauchamp Estates, with more than 140 now having a home in the capital.