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The Apprentice’s Lord Sugar claims ‘entitled’ younger generation is averse to hard work

Businessman said he’s ‘learnt nothing’ from show contestants except excuses

Maanya Sachdeva
Friday 19 January 2024 14:59 GMT
Lord Alan Sugar fires Kurran Pooni on The Apprentice

The Apprentice’s Lord Alan Sugar has claimed that “entitled” younger generations are averse to hard work and “don’t want to put the graft in”.

The Hackney-born businessman, whose net worth is estimated at over £1bn, added that he’s learnt nothing from The Apprentice contestants except an “array of excuses” in a new interview.

Speaking to Mail Online, the British entrepreneur, 76, lamented a “different culture” today than when he was growing up, adding he notices a sense of entitlement “in all walks of life now”.

Sugar criticised a new generation of The Apprentice aspirants for “a lack of hunger, wanting a quick fix, not wanting to put the graft in and get there through hard work” while explaining how he picks contestants for the long-running BBC One show.

“You select people that have the good old-fashioned hard-graft culture. The others can go their own way,” the Amstrad founder said.

Elsewhere, when asked whether he had learnt anything from the show’s participants over the years, Sugar replied: “Learnt from them? Nothing.

“What would I learn from them? You learn an array of excuses, but nothing new as far as I’m concerned.”

‘The Apprentice’ star Alan Sugar’s manner on the show has been criticised as harsh and abrasive (BBC / Fremantlemedia Limited)

Originally from Hackney, east London, Lord Sugar founded electronics company Amstrad in 1968 at the age of 21, selling audio and computer equipment, which led him to becoming a tycoon.

He has led the UK version of The Apprentice since 2005, after the show’s original American counterpart made Donald Trump a household name in the US.

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The brutal, business-styled reality show follows a group of candidates as they complete different tasks set by Sugar, before returning to his boardroom to have their performance evaluated and critiqued.

The last contestant standing wins £250,000 to invest into their own business, with Sugar becoming a 50-50 partner in the venture.

Sugar admitted that the interviews to decide last year’s winner were “hard to watch” after his friend and aide Baroness Karren Brady reduced two contestants to tears.

He said the baroness was “fuming” after she watched the show, adding that the hours-long interviews are condensed into five-minute sections per person so that it’s impossible to accurately represent everything that goes on inside the boardroom.

Brady told the newspaper “there was never any attempt to make anybody cry” and that the candidates got upset “because they’d let themselves down”.

“If you watch the interviews, the candidates got upset when I told them the one simple thing I was very disappointed about in their business plan, because they had done so well in the process,” the 54-year-old said.

She continued: “They got upset because they’d let themselves down. There was never any attempt to make anybody cry. There never would be.”

Earlier this month, Taxi Driver star Jodie Foster divided fan opinion over her comments about the work ethic of Generation Z, which refers to people born between 1997 and 2012.

Alan Sugar and his aides baroness Karren Brady and Tim Campbell (BBC/Naked)

The 61-year-old Oscar winner said she found GenZ “really annoying, especially in the workplace” in an interview with The Guardian on 6 January.

“They’re like, ‘Nah, I’m not feeling it today, I’m gonna come in at 10.30am.’ Or in emails, I’ll tell them, ‘This is all grammatically incorrect, did you not check your spelling?’ And they’re like, ‘Why would I do that, isn’t that kind of limiting?’”

While some people shared Foster’s frustrations, others noted that Gen Z’s more balanced attitude towards work was actually healthy.

The Apprentice returns on Thursday 1 February to BBC One.

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