From education to employment

Sir Alan Provides a Haven for His “Dummkopfs”, writes Vijay Pattni

“Ruth has poor judgment, and therefore [is] not a good manager””¦”Are they really the best Britain has to offer at this time? I hope not, or British Industry really will be going down the pan!”

“I wouldn”t hire any of them. They have no common or business sense whatsoever.””¦”I think nobody should win this competition because they lack basic common sense.””¦”I”m very disappointed with the calibre of candidates this series. I”m a 3rd year Computer Science student”¦””¦”The show? Excellent. The candidates? Poor.”

Basic Sense a Lost Art?

Perhaps that last statement sums up the sentiments felt by a nation in mourning. Mourning at the loss of basic sense in the workplace; of a cross section of candidates supposedly hailed as “the brightest entrepreneurs in the country”, seemingly unable to order a batch of chickens properly. And add to that Sir Alan Sugar’s contemptuous and downright arrogant, throwaway remarks labelling Further Education Colleges as centres where “dummkopfs go to learn how to make mistakes”, and you have addictive trash television.

Throughout the series, there has not been a single moment of unity between the candidates. None have eschewed any kind of business acumen pertaining to their status as budding entrepreneurs; each perhaps attempting to sidle up to Sir Alan’s aggressive persona, imitating his stature as though they have already achieved his success.

Yet while these comments have rightly kicked up a storm in the national media, including this very website, the outcry from the public has been equally, if not more, vociferous, in their condemnation of the candidates themselves.

Poor Choices

“If this bunch of candidates are the best Alan Sugar can find out of thousands he interviewed for the show then there is little hope for industry. On the other hand, Sir Alan’s judgement can”t be very good if he had a hand in picking them.”

The comments, as posted on the BBC website, reflect what many feel about the credibility of the show, and indeed astound those who cannot believe the position Sir Alan Sugar has created for himself considering his evident lack of language skills. Again and again we are reminded of how incompetent the “apprentices” are. The task of creating an advertising campaign to promote the Amsair loyalty card faltered with one team completely misjudging the emphasis of the card, failing to reach joint decisions and working harmoniously.

Apprentice schemes, however, have all the credentials to produce excellent candidates. International engineering company BAE Systems maintain that apprentices provide the company with a higher net return on investment than externally recruited employees. According to BAE, their apprentices are self motivated, ready to take the initiative and go into problem solving mode, therefore reducing production time for the work they do by up to 25%.

All we have seen from “The Apprentice” is a lot of gesticulating, shouting and swearing, coupled with a complete inability to perform any task in a logical and coherent manner. FE Colleges take note: Sir Alan’s comments cannot be valid, considering his television show is the real place where “dummkopfs go to learn how to make mistakes”. And how.

Vijay Pattni

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