It makes me want to weep, The Apprentice.
All these self-delusional young men and women each trying to outdo the others in arrogance and outright nastiness.
As a public demonstration of perfidy and incompetence it surely has no equal.
As an example of headless chickens running around in circles it has no parallel.
Yet surely Lord Sugar is missing a trick here (hem, hem).
He is recruiting his apprentices from entirely the wrong group of people.
If he wants someone to go into partnership with, to build on his £250,000 investment, why is he looking at the zealous but untried?
The type of people best equipped to develop successful businesses are clearly those who have done it before – not those who demonstrate on a weekly basis an inability even to organise a piss up in a brewery.
The time is surely right for ‘The Senior Apprentice’.
Those over-55 say would bring immensely valuable business skills acquired through at least thirty years’ experience.
They will be very aware of the value and importance of money.
Older people are not as impatient or impetuous as the younger generation. With more time on their hands, seniors can take as much time as is needed properly to develop their business concept, analyse market opportunities, develop products, test new services and prepare a high quality business plan.
They can call on business contacts, associates and friends made in the past to provide complementary expertise and advice.
As a result, financial risks can be minimised and the prospects for success substantially enhanced.
Anthony (not his real name) was one such entrepreneur.
Steeped in corporate life but bored in retirement, he made the decision at 55 to do something new.
He reconnected with colleagues from his old industry – financial services – and together they started a new company offering specialist advice to owners of IFA networks.
Anthony was taking advantage of all his previous experience, and contacts, and applying it to his new venture.
Initial clients were all people he’d known in his earlier professional life; from there he built his business on referrals and recommendations.
Had he been an Apprentice in his early twenties, this would not have been possible.
He would have possessed neither the knowledge of the industry nor the range of contacts to enable him to set up and prosper.
And Anthony is by no means alone.
In a 2009 survey by Business Link, almost one third of small to medium sized enterprises were owned and managed by those aged 55 and over.
BusinessesForSale.com reports that more than one in four buyers of businesses are 55+.
At the conclusion of a recent TV episode, Lord Sugar said that he “wanted a message to go back”.
Perhaps in retrospect the message was to the wrong people.
Senior Apprentices are the way forward.