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A college principal has made a stinging attack against reality TV, warning popular shows could make instant fame and success look like child’s play.

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Cathy Walsh, the head of Barking and Dagenham College, highlighted the illusion prime-time TV shows created after she helped to unveil a new vocational academy to tackle youth unemployment in Barking.

Ms Walsh made clear she was not taking a swipe at light entertainment.

She said: “I enjoy watching reality TV as much as the next person, especially the business and entrepreneur focused shows, but we have to convey a clear message to teens that money and business opportunities don’t get handed to you on a plate in the real world.

“Setting yourself up in business takes courage, determination and commitment but the current trend for reality TV shows make entrepreneurship and instant fame look like child’s play.”

Ms Walsh spoke out after she helped to unveil a £14million Technical Skills Academy near East Street, Barking, on Thursday.

The academy is set to provide thousands of teenagers with vocational skills.

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