THE BLOG

BBC's 'The Apprentice' Returns - Where Is the Technology?

14/10/2015 11:01 BST | Updated 13/10/2016 10:12 BST

The most intense interview process returns to the BBC this week and Alan Sugar will once again take centre stage by chastising and firing candidates that aren't quite up to scratch until he finds his star apprentice. This will be the 11th series of The Apprentice and we will meet more of Britain's most ambitious, yet often somewhat deluded group of entrepreneurs.

Something else Alan Sugar is no stranger to is technology and yet The Apprentice has failed to grasp the importance of technology and technical innovation which has been a leading factor for many growth firms and the fastest growing sector in the economy. In this season of The Apprentice, should we be looking for the next Mark Zuckerberg rather than the next Alan Sugar?

In the last season of The Apprentice, only one candidate (Soloman Akhtar) stood out with a real technological mind. Even when Solomon would approach a task that was somewhat tech related, he would be referred to as the 'techy one' and sometimes mocked for it.

Yet the growth of IT is spawning more jobs than ever before. The UK has seen an explosion of tech start-up's over recent times. The IT jobs sector is expected to grow by 20% by 2020 according to our research and IT Graduate vacancies have risen by 50% in the last five years - higher than any other sector.

In last year's season, the only times contestants got to do something remotely technical was when they were assigned to create a YouTube channel and develop wearable technology. But 'wearable technology' was taken too literally and one team ended up with a jumper with a camera in it and the other a jacket with solar panels in it.

It's not that The Apprentice should focus on just technical tasks as that wouldn't make exciting TV. The Apprentice isn't the program it is if there's no shameful flogging of snacks in the street or negotiating for obscure items with shopkeepers. The show should still keep to the classic formula of selling unique products but learn how to implement today's relevance such as social media, digital marketing and tech innovation.

Additionally the expectation is of unique and innovative business plans - yet recent winners include the establishment of a "me-too" Recruitment Agency and Digital Marketing Agency. Entrepreneurs'? Maybe, time will tell. Innovation - No chance. This is more a play on the candidates existing comfort zone and using The Apprentice as a vehicle to raise funds.

So come on Alan, let's inspire the watching public with some real tech innovation!