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Apprentice is a model for success

9 August 07 15:54 GMT

Black boys need better role models to help them succeed, a report has said. The winner of the first BBC Apprentice series reveals those that inspired him.

Tim Campbell epitomises the sort of role model a report says are needed to help young black men achieve their full potential.

The 30-year-old east Londoner triumphed in one of television's toughest competitions to work for one of the world's most demanding bosses, Sir Alan Sugar.

He agrees too many young black people admire rappers who often glamorise guns.

Glamorous image

"I don't value any rappers. They don't represent me. You only find role models who represent what you want to be," he says.

"I look up to people in business who have done things I want to do."

No wonder designer Ozwald Boateng and founder of black entertainment TV in the US, Bob Johnson, rate in Mr Campbell's top 10 black role models.

He says the problem with rappers is their image suggests they have lots of money and effortlessly attract women.

"No wonder young, impressionable, testosterone-fuelled men want to achieve that."

Trevor MacDonald, Nelson Mandela and Diane Abbott are also among the list of people who inspire Mr Campbell.

It also features the eclectic mix of Oprah Winfrey, Dawn Butler Labour MP for Brent, Soul to Soul singer Jazzy B and Damon Buffin, who is the chief executive Primera private equity group.

But Mr Campbell believes role models do not have to be famous or wealthy.

"My role model when I was growing up was my mum and an Irish teacher I had at school.

"Others around me, like Sir Alan, obviously are very rich. But I look up to people who have more experience than me, it's not just about money and success.

Hard work

"What's important to me is what experience have they had, what achievements have they had, what can they pass on.

"Nurses for me are great role models. I couldn't do what they do - their patience, dedication, they're saving people's lives."

But there is more to stopping black youths underachieving than finding them better heroes, Mr Campbell adds.

He says a lack of father figures is a problem and strong parenting is needed.

"I could say I didn't have a male role model when I was growing up, but that would not have been an excuse for me to do stuff that's not right.

"You've got a personal choice to choose what you want to do. You can only take responsibility for your own actions."

The tough challenges faced by the Apprentice candidates epitomise the hard work needed to succeed.

"The power of working hard to achieve success is underrated. You don't hear about the long slog that got them there, which encourages people to think."

Mr Campbell says the two years he spent as Sir Alan's apprentice was just the start of his hard work.

Since leaving his £100,000-a-year job working for Amstrad boss, he has founded the Bright Ideas Trust, which aims to support business entrepreneurs of the future.

"I'm only now starting to reap the benefits of going through the process.

"It takes a long time, and people only want to hear about the successful outcomes. But the failures along the way are learning experiences."

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