Page last updated at 15:38 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 16:38 UK

BBC announces Junior Apprentice

Sir Alan Sugar
Sir Alan will be testing the teenagers' entrepreneurial skills

Sir Alan Sugar is to put a group of 10 teenagers through their paces in a youth version of The Apprentice, the BBC has announced.

Junior Apprentice will feature five girls and five boys aged 16 and 17, who will be set a variety of business tasks to test their entrepreneurial skills.

The winner will win a prize worth up to £25,000 and tailored to his or her individual career prospects.

The five-part series will be shown on BBC One next year.

Sir Alan has long held an ambition to launch a young version of the hit reality show, telling the BBC News website last year: "I believe it would be an absolute one-off blockbuster.

"I've even gone to the extent of saying 'you don't fire a person', because God knows what they would call me if I fired an 11-year-old child!"

But, according to details of the new series, the entrepreneur will do exactly that.

The BBC's press release states: "The losing team will end up in the boardroom and the project manager will have to choose two people to join them in the firing line."

Common Sense

Sir Alan added: "It is my long held belief that we should be doing more to promote enterprise amongst young people, as the future of our economy relies on them.

"I passionately believe that the key to business success lies in hard work and common sense and that we should encourage our young people as much as possible."

Candidates from all social backgrounds are being encouraged to apply - whether they are straight A students, from grammar or public school or have no academic qualifications.

"Understandably, the contestants won't have any previous business experience, but all I want to see from them is an entrepreneurial aptitude and an enthusiasm to succeed," said Sir Alan, who left school at 16 with no qualifications.

Anyone wishing to take part in the show can apply via The Apprentice website.

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