HR · 25 May 2016

Alan Sugar reappointed as government’s enterprise tsar

Alan Sugar
Alan Sugar: “I’m hoping to instil some entrepreneurial spirit”.

Star of The Apprentice and life peer Alan Sugar has been appointed enterprise tsar as part of a government drive to encourage more young people to start a business or an apprenticeship.

On top of championing entrepreneurialism and the value of apprenticeships, Sugar will encourage small business owners across the country to take on an apprentice themselves.

According to a statement issued by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS), Sugar – one of the best known names in British business – will participate in a series of roadshow events across the country where he’ll speak with local businesses and school leavers.

Supported jointly by both the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Education, Sugar’s new role will add to the government’s effort to deliver three million new apprenticeships in England by 2020.

Sugar once held a similar role under the Labour government of Gordon Brown. Last year, however, he announced that he was quitting Labour due to a growing “disillusionment” with the party under Jeremy Corbyn.

“I’m delighted to be taking on this challenge,” Sugar said. “I’ll be travelling the length and breadth of the country to tell young people why apprenticeships are a great way for them to build skills, and talking about the opportunities for starting their own business – hopefully instilling some entrepreneurial spirit.”

After leaving school at the age of 16, Sugar built and sold two successful companies in the computer sector – Amstrad and Viglen. The self-made mogul currently has an estimated net worth of roughly £900m.

Sugar went on to say: “I built successful businesses with the support of hundreds of talented young people who learned their skills on the job. Not enough of our young people know about apprenticeships and what they offer, and too few feel empowered to set up their own business.”

Commenting on the appointment, skills minister Nick Boles said: “Lord Sugar has huge credibility amongst young people and I am pleased that he has agreed to help the government bang the drum for apprenticeships and enterprise.”

To increase the quality and quantity of apprenticeships, the government announced the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in last summer’s Budget. Almost one-in-five small business owners have taken on an apprentice in the last twelve months, according to new figures released by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), while half are considering taking on trainees over the course of the next year.

Read on to meet LDN Group – the startup connecting London’s employers with young apprentices.

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.