Lord Sugar

Lord Sugar has been named the best business role model by students in the UK, beating Sir Richard Branson and Kim Kardashian to top spot.

The poll of 1,000 students, conducted by enterprise and financial education charity Young Enterprise, identified the entrepreneur and star of The Apprentice as the best business role model with 41% of the vote. Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson was voted for by 27% of students.

Perhaps the surprise inclusion was reality TV star Kim Kadarshian, who secured 9% of the vote to make her the third best business role model. Lord Sugar's Apprentice aide, Baroness Karren Brady and Apple CEO Tim Cook both received 5% of the vote each. Google CEO Larry Page and Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel each gained 4%. And finally, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was voted for by just 3% of students surveyed.

Over a quarter (26%) of young people also claim BBC’s The Apprentice has played a central role in teaching them key employment skills, reinforcing the importance of essential attributes like innovation, teamwork, integrity and confidence. Asked where else they are gaining fundamental employment skills, 47% of UK students have developed these through their own experiences (e.g. part-time jobs), 45% have learnt from family members, 45% have honed skills at school, 14% have developed abilities through clubs (e.g. sports teams, drama, business clubs) while 7% have learnt from magazines or newspapers. The results show the importance of local community in preparing young people for the future, with family, school and part time jobs scoring highly.

Michael Mercieca, CEO of Young Enterprise, said: “When TV stars are the most popular business role models for young people, we need to ask whether schools, government and parents are doing enough to expose students to business and entrepreneurial education. The Apprentice can be applauded for making great TV, but young people need to be actively developing their communication, teamwork, problem-solving, creativity and resilience skills – rather than just sitting back and watching them on TV.”