Alan Sugar, now Lord Sugar, Baron of Clapton in the London Borough of Hackney, has already caused a ruckus for Gordon Brown, despite having only been in government for six short weeks.
The newly appointed enterprise tsar told the Association of Teachers and Lecturers’ magazine Report: "This country has had a proud history of apprenticeships, but they have been scandalously neglected in recent times."
His comments follow the announcement that the government plans to create 400,000 apprenticeships by 2020, including 35,000 in the coming year. "It is clear that we have got a way to go," says Alan Sugar. "So far [government] has increased spending to £1.14bn in 2009/10 and committed to investing in more than 20,000 public sector apprenticeship places during the next year.
"That investment needs to be maintained if apprenticeships are to be a long-term success."
There’s been much finger-pointing around the apprenticeship issue recently. While Alan Sugar lambasts the government for their stance on apprenticeships, he himself has received criticism from entrepreneurs about the new Make Things Happen apprenticeships campaign.
Charlie Mullins, founder of Pimlico Plumbers, says: "The government’s apprenticeships campaign fronted by Sir Alan Sugar has reportedly cost £2.8m, with figures suggesting that, so far, the scheme has seen only one apprentice hired for every 25 vacancies. I’m no economist, but £2.8m is enough to pay 14,000 apprentices for a year."
Alan Sugar is famous for his outspoken style and brutal "You’re fired" approach on The Apprentice. Wonder how Gordon Brown feels being on the receiving end of Suralan’s criticism?