From education to employment

Returning Series Sees Candidates Step into the Line of Fire

Wednesday the 22nd of February saw the return of BBC Two’s critically acclaimed show “The Apprentice”.

Competition this year was fiercer than ever with more than 10,000 people applying for the six-figure salaried job with Sir Alan Sugar. These applications were whittled down to fourteen hopefuls. Over the next twelve weeks the candidates will take part in the toughest recruitment-drive on television with no guarentee of a job at the end.

The Man Behind the Plan

The 59-year-old belligerent Sir Alan, who left school in Hackney at 16, started trading from a small council flat and now has a global empire worth £800 million, will set weekly business tasks for the candidates. They are divided into two teams and tested on ambition, business flair and wit. These weekly challenges are designed to push the candidates knowledge and resolve to the absolute limits.

The team that wins the weekly assignment are given a reward but the losers are put in the line of fire in the boardroom where one apprentice is singled out for the sack. The Apprentice TV show has been a smash hit in the UK, much the same as it was in the US and of last years runners up, three have already launched their own companies and one has earned multi-millionaire status.

Growing Interest in Apprentices

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC), who exist to make England a better skilled and more competitive place, fund and promote apprenticeships. The LSC will be distributing commentary on “The Apprentice” every week after the show. There are two levels of apprenticeships: the “Apprenticeship”, being the equivalent to GCSE levels, incorporating a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) to Level Two, key skills and in some cases a technical certificate and the “Advanced Apprenticeship”, being the equivalent to two A-Levels, incorporating an NVQ to Level Three, key skills and a technical certificate.

Currently 270,000 young people aged between 16 and 24 are undertaking an apprenticeship. They are from over 190 paths in 80 different sectors of the industry and commerce. The vision of the LSC is that by 2010, young people and adults in England will have the knowledge and skills matching the best in the world.

Maria Vitale

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