Wednesday 24 Sep 2014
Junior Apprentice is coming to BBC One with Sir Alan Sugar at its helm.
The series (5 x 60-minutes) will see 10 young contenders, five girls and five boys aged 16 to 17 years old, compete to become the winner of the title of the first Junior Apprentice.
The series, from TalkbackThames, will be in addition to the multi-award-winning main series which returns for its sixth run next year.
Multimillionaire and self-made businessman, Sir Alan Sugar left school at 16 with no money in his pocket and no qualifications but, against the odds, he battled his way to the top.
Now he's on the hunt for teenagers aged 16 to 17 who have the same potential, with drive, determination and raw business talent.
Candidates from all social backgrounds are being encouraged to apply – whether they are straight A students, from grammar or public school or have no academic qualifications.
Sir Alan said: "It is my long held belief that we should be doing more to promote enterprise amongst young people, as the future of our economy relies on them.
"I passionately believe that the key to business success lies in hard work and common sense and that we should encourage our young people as much as possible.
"Understandably, the contestants won't have any previous business experience, but all I want to see from them is an entrepreneurial aptitude and an enthusiasm to succeed."
Sir Alan will guide the candidates through a variety of business tasks to test their entrepreneurial skills.
Each week, teams will go head to head starting with the five boys against the five girls.
As with the main series, the losing team will end up in the boardroom and the project manager will have to choose two people to join them in the firing line.
The Junior Apprentice chosen by Sir Alan will win a prize tailored to his or her individual career prospects and worth up to £25,000.
Lorraine Heggessey, CEO, TalkbackThames, said: "Junior Apprentice is a great opportunity for teenagers to learn about business first hand from one of Britain's most successful entrepreneurs, Sir Alan Sugar.
"The main series of The Apprentice is extremely popular with younger audiences and we're delighted to give them a chance to prove themselves in this challenging competitive environment."
Mark Linsey, Controller of Commissioning, BBC Entertainment, said: "I'm delighted that Sir Alan is going to be bringing his searing honesty and brilliant business brain to Junior Apprentice and to the country's up and coming entrepreneurs."
Junior Apprentice is a TalkbackThames production for BBC One. The executive producers are Michele Kurland for TalkbackThames and Jo Wallace, BBC entertainment commissioning executive, for the BBC.
Anyone wishing to take part in the show should go to bbc.co.uk/apprentice to apply.
More about Sir Alan Sugar
After leaving school in Hackney in London's East End aged 16, Sugar started selling car aerials and electric goods out of a van he bought for £100. In 1968, he founded Amstrad, and now, over 40 years later, he is a multimillionaire, and was ranked 59th in the 2009 Sunday Times Rich List.
A self-made millionaire, he became Chairman of Tottenham Hotspur FC in 1991, and up until 2007 he was their biggest single shareholder. In July 2007, Sugar sold his Amstrad empire to Sky. Sugar's other companies include AMSAIR, which offers business and executive jets to a number of high profile clients around the world, AMSPROP, a property investment firm, and VIGLEN, a manufacturer specialising in computers, networks and solutions.
In 2000, Sugar was knighted for his services to business and he holds two honorary Doctorates of Science degrees, awarded by City University and Brunel University respectively.
He is a philanthropist for a number of charities including Great Ormond Street Hospital and Jewish Care. He has now been recruited to the Government's Business Council for Britain where he is an adviser to Gordon Brown on issues affecting enterprise, business and the long-term productivity and competitiveness of the economy. He is currently working with Ed Balls MP, Children, Schools and Families Secretary, and John Denham MP, Innovation, Universities and Skills Secretary, to front a campaign promoting the benefits of apprenticeships.
More about The Apprentice
BAFTA Award-winning business series, The Apprentice is now on its fifth run after four previous successful series. It first aired in 2005. The Apprentice regularly draws in over eight million viewers and last year more than 10 million viewers tuned in to see Lee McQueen become Sir Alan Sugar's fourth apprentice. As well as a wealth of loyal fans, The Apprentice has received critical-acclaim and won numerous awards including two BAFTAs, a National Television Award and a Broadcast Award.
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