back to article Bearded Baron Shugs hired by to get down with the kids

PM David Cameron has hired reality TV celebrity Baron Shugs of the BBC* as enterprise tsar, the government confirmed today. The hairy walnut founded Viglen and Amstrad, but now seems to concentrate on bricks and mortar investments, that and telling deluded, wannabe entrepreneurs on Beeb show The Apprentice their ideas are …


    Inventor of the phrase "Mugs eyeful"...

    ... this can only go well...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lol, yeah I'd totally start a business in a country which is trying to ban encryption and privacy, has slow ass internet, and is generally super hostile to technology.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FFS, the man who made thousands of shit hifi products, the internet phone and numerous other appallingly manufactured tech failures. This man is not a good example of a successful businessman - any trained monkey with enough seed capital can make money out of property in this country at the moment

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't forget those nasty ass rusty satalite dishes for Sky. Only product the company was making at one point I believe, and only because Amstrad bid lowest.

  4. Graham Marsden

    Baron who...?

    ... gets down to the end of the piece...

    ... Oh, *him*...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Baron who...?

      I agree, I skim read it several times before I clicked on. Can't wait until our American cousins try to make any sense of this article.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Baron who...?

        Just tell them its about Trump. Eh close enough.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Baron who...?

          Except Baron actually built successful businesses rather than turned a few $100M inheritance into multiple bankruptcies .

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Lots of employers love for apprenticeships is obviously in no way related to apprenticeship wages being less than minimum wage for youngster of same age (even allowing for apprentice spending 1 day a week at college, employer still makes a cost saving) & allowing a loophole of a nice turnover pipeline of cheap labour as completing apprenticeship at a company does not mean you then get hired as a permie.

    I'm not down with the kids, but have offspring who has done apprenticeship (& many mates of offspring have done the same): From that limited sample (may not be super representative,) I know many apprenticeships do not have a great reputation with the target age group so assume Sugar promoting them is an effort to try & improve apprenticeship stats.

    Caveat - some apprenticeships can be useful (e.g. a few of the kids have got careers in practical areas such as car mechanics, but many of those in various nebulous office skills related apprenticeships have just been used as cheap labour & beyond experience of lots of different brands of photocopier, phone system etc. have not really gained much, other than pitifully poor pay packets compared to others doing exactly the same tasks but without an apprentice label)

    AC due to various other peoples experiences being mentioned even though naming no names.

    1. Dr. Mouse

      Re: apprenticeships

      My own brother did an apprenticeship as a mechanic, and he's doing pretty well for himself.

      However, I agree that there are many who use apprentices and interns as cheap (or free) labour, instead of teaching them the skills they will need to progress. This practice should be stopped. Any employer found to be doing this should be forced to pay full wages* to their "apprentices", back dated and applied to previous apprentices, as well as a hefty fine and being publicly named and shamed. Its exploitation of young people trying to do the right thing and get a good start in a trade/career, and exploitation of labour laws.

    2. wikkity

      Re: some apprenticeships can be useful

      A friend was looking into apprenticeships for his son, he came across one for a sandwich technician at Subway.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: some apprenticeships can be useful

        They can be good a colleagues brother is currently doing one as a metallurgist, they seem to have them doing some proper practical and engineering skills along with it, like making his own tools.

        1. MonkeyCee

          Re: some apprenticeships can be useful

          Like internships, apprenticeships range from being excellent and really the only way to learn, all the way to full on exploitation.

          For some careers, you really need to get some hands on to decide if it's something you can handle or not. Teaching, nursing and kitchen work spring to mind, as they are usually too stressful and will burnout anyone who's not suited to that particular pressure.

          For some you really only properly learn by doing. Most trades and skills like programming are tricky to teach* without doing some hands on with more experienced types giving you the sage advice. Also the need to work in teams for greater efficiency, so need to mix the "soft" and the "hard" skills.

          I'm studying in the Netherlands at the moment, and there is a *huge* linkage between study and work. Quite a few companies are not interested in offering an internship unless you'll be there for 5+ years. Lots of stuff about needing the right fit, and it being easier to train skills than change personalities.

          * not the basics, but the equivalent of building and managing a small house construction.

      2. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: sandwich technician at Subway

        In Australia, most of the apprenticeships which were offered up until a few years ago (and 50-75% funded by the federal gov) were doled out to MacDonalds

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: apprenticeships

      "allowing a loophole of a nice turnover pipeline of cheap labour as completing apprenticeship at a company does not mean you then get hired as a permie."

      This loophole is the main reason I advise people against apprenticeships - the implied contractual part of getting paid shit wages for several years is permanent employment afterwards and if they're renegging on that then it's just the same old explotation game.

      If an employer won't put a clause in the apprenticeship contract guaranteeing 5 years employment upon completion then they're not worth bothering with (and it's highly likely you'll find they're pulling marginal-to-illegal shit elsewhere)

      1. Dr. Mouse

        Re: apprenticeships

        "the implied contractual part of getting paid shit wages for several years is permanent employment afterwards"

        I disagree with this.

        The point of an apprenticeship is that you get an education in the trade, learning both through studying and working. However, I do not believe that there should be a guaranteed job at that company afterwards: If they want to pay for your training then get rid of you, that is their prerogative. As long as they do provide the training that is required to do the job, preferably along with recognised, transferable qualifications, they have fulfilled their part of the bargain.

        Most companies couldn't guarantee anyone a job for 5 years (probably not even 1 year), even their most experienced and skilled employee. Circumstances change quickly in business.

        1. Barry Rueger

          Re: apprenticeships

          Traditionally, in Canada, apprenticeships were regulated, and mostly involved workplaces with unionized workforces, so the apprenticeship actually meant something.

          Our governments are also going on and on about trade apprenticeships, but presumably because so many well-paid, permanent jobs have been off-shored in the name of "free trade."

          The cynical among us might think that the aim is to create a glut of post-apprentice tradespeople so that their wages can also be driven down.

          (Does the UK government also insist that every third apprenticeship PR ad feature a woman?)

          1. nijam Silver badge

            Re: apprenticeships

            > ... workplaces with unionized workforces, so the apprenticeship actually meant ...

            ...not doing much work?

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: apprenticeships

        "If an employer won't put a clause in the apprenticeship contract guaranteeing 5 years employment upon completion then they're not worth bothering with "

        Also worth noting that the old style apprenticeships such the one my dad did umpty ump years ago was that it was indentured, but on both side of the contract. Not only did the company guarantee a job at the end of it, but dad was contracted to take that job for x years. Training up an apprentice properly over 5 years was a big investment for a company and they expected some loyalty and payback from that investment.

        Employment law and human rights is what killed those old style apprenticeships. Less ethical companies simply did away with taking on apprentices at all and then poached the newly trained one that other companies had invested in. The law of unintended consequences.

        Whether that style of apprenticeship was good or bad is another question, but I wonder how many of the current generation choosing careers and training would be prepared to start right at the bottom of the ladder sweeping the floors knowing they won't be qualified for 5 years. Looking at the generation of supermarket "trainee managers" doing shelf stacking and expecting to be managing a shop in a year or two at most.

  6. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Founded Viglen?

    He didn't found Viglen, he found Viglen as something to make money from.

    I bought my first 'real PC' from them and was looking to buy a load of kit from them quite some time before old Beardy McBeardFace got his sticky paws on them.

    1. Dabooka Silver badge

      Re: Founded Viglen?

      Good point on Viglen being hoovered up in the 90s, but didn't you get the memo?

  7. Sir Barry

    It isn't all bad

    We have an apprenticeship scheme, mainly office based. So far 6 apprentices are now employed full time with us and one young lady secured a job she really wanted elsewhere due to the skills she gained such as presenting and networking with people.

    I agree there are going to be firms out there who are just taking advantage of cheap labour, but there is some good work happening as well.

    1. Dabooka Silver badge

      Re: It isn't all bad

      To be fair, it's not often the firms it's the PTPs that secure the placement and draw down the funding.

      I've heard of one place that was refirbishing PCs and office kit to resell, but it was nothing more than a front for apprenticeships, which is where they really made their made the money. Take that away, no business model. I mean who makes money from reviving old kit?

      1. m0rt

        Re: It isn't all bad


  8. Alister

    Not a fan of Lord Sugar, but I do think that there should be more emphasis on apprenticeships and other paths into employment beside the last decade's ill advised push to get every school leaver into university.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Yes but are these going to be German engineering apprenticships or "son of YTS"

      The question is - do you trust this government to put the best interests of unemployed school leavers over short term profits of big business ?

  9. m0rt

    what has credibility with young people got to do with anything?

    They just see some famous.

    Credibility with business would be more applicable.

  10. Pseudonymous Diehard

    Hairy Walnut


  11. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Apprentices or Interns?

    I suspect this is just some PR babble.

    Apprentices, historically, are those learning a craft or trade and then progress up the ranks to journeyman and then master. I see or know of no program to create "journeymen" or "master" assistant admins or MS Word Wranglers.

    Interns on the other hand are probably what they should be called. Low pay for the learning/work experience usually part-time or for a limited time while the intern continues their education or can use the experience gained for a higher level position.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Apprentices or Interns?

      Thank you! Exactly what I was thinking, plus to get 3 million by 2020 means these are not going to be real apprenticeships which were usually 3-5 years depending on the craft or trade. I am sure there are not 3 million kids waiting for apprenticeships right now.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Apprentices or Interns?

        I think the idea that these will be low paid jobs while people are learning the skills is very old-fashioned and out of touch.

        If the young people are learning - they should be paying the employer fees, We can probably cap these at the same level as university tuition

  12. Camilla Smythe

    Wun Step Beyond!!

    Good to see Suggs has been invited to get 'Da Apprenticeship Yoof' to get on their baggy trousers and 'Go Apprenticeship' things. More SKA SAX REQUIRED!!!111!!!

  13. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Did someone say Recession?

    “ route out of the recession”.

    Back in 2009...

    The entrepreneur swore and told the BBC: "Can't we get off this recession kick once and for all? I don't think we're in one now, ok?"

    HIGNFY edit...

    Full clip...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Did someone say Recession?

      Which is the general economic policy for dealing with a recession - deny it and hope people spend.

      The alternative - running around saying we are doomed, causes people to stop spending, and s companies to stop selling, and so on - creates depressions

  14. BugabooSue

    Shugs, who quit school at 16...

    He didn't "quit!"

    15 was the 'normal' school leaving age when he was a kid. From his birth-date 24th March 1947, it meant he could legally leave school at 15. Apparently, he stayed on an EXTRA year and to then "quit school at 16!"

    Don't let facts get in the way of a good story, eh?

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