Softly spoken Alan Sugar

Alan Sugar

Alan Sugar

Sir Alan Sugar admits he spoke differently to the young hopefuls competing on the 'Junior Apprentice' than he would to contestants on the regular version of the show.

Sir Alan Sugar had to tone down his mean streak for the 'Junior Apprentice'.

The business tycoon admits he wasn't as cutting with the teenage hopefuls competing for the £25,000 prize - which the winner will use to start up their own enterprise under the millionaire's guidance - as he is with those who compete in the main show.

He said: "Obviously I spoke to them in a different manner than you would with much more mature candidates.

"The knack of talking to youngsters is not to be too condescending - to have a firmness but recognise you shouldn't vilify them individually."

Alan admitted he advised the 10 contestants not to take rejection to heart when they were told "You're fired".

He explained: "I tried to make the point that 28,000 applied to get to the final 10. They had made it there.

"The kid gets back to school and he gets back to his mates. He made it there. While the others might be sitting on their chairs scoffing crisps and drinking cola, he was there.

"And that's the point I will raise to any other group of young people that decide to take the mickey out of these guys because, believe me, they're a great bunch of kids, this lot, and they're to be admired."

In the BBC One show, he warns the contestants - all aged between 19 and 18 and including a CEO, sheep-shearer, a market-stall holder, high-achieving students, a maths genius, a self-employed salesman and an aspiring inventor - that he is not an "old happy clappy tutor" or a "call me 'Al' kind of mentor".


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