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The Apprentice judge Claude Littner opens up about ruthless reputation

Sir Alan Sugar's new judge and long-serving colleague said his on-screen persona is a lesson to young professionals in the business world

(Image: BBC)

The Apprentice judge Claude Littner has insisted his on screen reputation for tearing into CVs is purely for the job and that he is just an "ordinary" person off camera.

Lord Alan Sugar's new judge for the forthcoming BBC series, which begins on Wednesday (October 14), said being firm about CV and accuracy errors is an essential lesson for aspiring entrepreneurs to learn.

But he insists he was misquoted in the media recently as saying: "I don't get emotional about anything," when he was only referring to how he is on the show.

Away from the camera, the 66-year-old said he is just an ordinary man who enjoys watching football and having fun but, when it comes to the show, his role requires him to emotionally detach himself from contestants.

He said: "What I was talking about was that I do not get emotional on The Apprentice, I observe and go back to Lord Sugar on what they have done so to that extent I am completely unemotional.

"If you're talking about how I am as a human being, I think I am a decent individual and a normal individual, but when it comes to business I put on a different role because you have to have a certain degree of professionalism and that is absolutely key.

"I like going to football and having fun but when it comes to business you have to take it seriously, my role on The Apprentice is not one where I am a nurse maid.

"I have not torn up someone's CV but I have torn into them for a CV with a lot of spelling errors and inaccuracies, or for a business plan that does not add up.

"I think it is a good lesson for everyone to learn, you yourself just got a job and I can't imagine you got it if you were late and a CV with errors on it."

'Enhancing students' experiences'

Claude graduated from the University of West London Business School, in Ealing, in the 1970s where he walked away with a BA Honours in business studies.

And just over 12 months ago, on October 7 last year, he opened the Claude Littner Business School, an expansion, which aims to link aspiring students with businesses in Ealing for apprenticeships and work experience.

The school oversaw a large change to academics, offering new skills and a larger focus of life after university, something Claude says is essential to get ahead in the modern market.

He added: "The whole landscape has changed, in the 1970s there were more jobs and the thought of doing the degree and [starting] your own business was not the natural process - it was to get a job and move up the ladder.

"Whereas now, because jobs are scarcer, people are more inclined to set up their own business and it is very important for the business courses to be run with care.

"The business school has been going for many years, in fact I attended it almost 50 years ago so it has been going for a long time.

"They have brought in a new Dean, Khalid Hafeez, and they have bought in a lot of new academics who are very enthusiastic who have come to teach.

"With the right people in place, I think they will enhance the students' experience.

"I want to set up links between the university and all the businesses around Ealing so we arrange with businesses to get work experience or apprenticeships."

Claude, based in north London, first met Lord Alan Sugar during a job interview for Amstrad in 1990 and, after 25 years of working together, he praised their working relationship.

He added: "I would like to think that I have never let Alan Sugar down and that is not to say that I have never made mistakes but I have always done my best and I think that is what he looks for.

"He is very clever and not in a show-off kind of way.

"He asked me if I would like to do it [become a judge] and I said: 'No, not really', because I greatly enjoyed the job I had because I think I did it well.

"Life's full of experiences and I was hoping I would bring something new to the role."

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