Young people should be prepared to take jobs in coffee shops if they want to get on in life, employment minister Esther McVey has said.

The Wirral West MP said jobseekers need reminding that they have to start at the bottom and work their way up, rather than expecting to walk into their dream job.

Her comments came today in an interview with the Daily Mail in which she said young Britons are less prepared for the world of work than foreign migrants and need to learn the basics, such as turning up on time.

But she insisted those who want to work hard can succeed if they are prepared to learn the ropes and "be realistic" about their abilities.

Miss McVey said tackling youth unemployment will be her “top priority” but added those looking for work have to be prepared to get a foot on the ladder before expanding their horizons.

Asked if they should be prepared to take "entry-level jobs", she said: "Absolutely. You could be working at Costa.

"But in a couple of years’ time you might say, 'I’d like to manage the area' or might even want to run a hotel in Dubai."

The minister believes many young people have unrealistic expectations about what jobs entail, and it is only when they start, they realise it can take years to become proficient.

She said: "Everybody says, 'That’s what I want to do,' but I think you’ve got to realise the hours, the years [needed] to be able to do that job.

"When you see your first piece of work and compare it with who you want to be, all of a sudden you realise what skills you don’t have.”

She added: "You are dealt the cards you are dealt and you have to make the best of that. That is life.”