Britain’s vocational “skillionaires” – revealed

The City & Guilds Vocational Rich List 2011 features big names from a variety of industries, who have built their fortunes following an apprenticeship or other practical qualification.

Defying the downturn, the City & Guilds Vocational Rich List 2011 shows Britain’s self-made, vocational elite are worth a collective £17.6bn – a billion pound increase since 2008.

Analysis of the list shows just how wrong Lord Sugar – who recently commented that he’s yet to meet an engineer “who can turn his hand to business” – truly is. Twenty-four of the top 100 vocational self-made millionaires have made their fortune following an engineering apprenticeship. The list includes Sir Anthony Bamford, the JCB billionaire, who saw his family fortune shoot up to £2.2bn this year, putting him in pole position.

Dragons’ Den judge and leisure industry magnate Deborah Meaden (position 63) adds a boost to the number of women on the list with her self-made fortune valued at £40m. Meaden is one of a handful of well-known women, including fashionistas Linda Bennett, founder of LK Bennett (position 41), City & Guilds qualified Karen Millen (position 63) and Stella McCartney and cook and food writer, Delia Smith (both position 89).

Delia Smith joins a host of other well-known TV chefs including Jamie Oliver (position 33), Rick Stein (position 79) and Gary Rhodes (position 100) – all of whom started their careers having completed a vocational catering qualification.

But while celebrity chefs may have cooked themselves up a fortune (ho-ho), it’s the entrepreneurs from industry, including high tech sectors, that lead the way in the 2011 list, making up 30 of the 100.

City & Guilds Vocational Rich List 2011: Top 20 millionaires

  1. Sir Anthony Bamford (£2,150m – industry)
  2. Laurence Graff (£2,000m – diamonds)
  3. John Caudwell (£1,500m – mobile phones)
  4. Sir James Dyson (£1,450m – industry)
  5. Sir Terry Matthews (£1,043m – telecoms)
  6. Jim McColl (£570m – industry)
  7. Trevor Hemmings (£550m – property and leisure)
  8. Sir David McMurty (£450m – industry)
  9. Sir Arnold Clark (£430m – car sales)
  10. Steve Morgan (£400m – property and construction)
  11. John Bloor (£385m – industry)
  12. David Wilson (£360m – construction)
  13. Ray O’Rourke (£315m – construction)
  14. Jack Tordoff (£290m – car sales)
  15. David Hood (£250m – electronics)
  16. Michael Clare (£237m – retailing)
  17. John Deer (£210m – industry)
  18. Michael Oglesby (£200m – property)
  19. Peter Dawson (£187m – truck rentals)
  20. Ron Dennis (£177m – sports)

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