The Social Apprentice: the human face of ambition?

In response to a piece the other day about how the TV show The Apprentice demonstrated that "Blair’s Britain was all about profit", I wrote in a letter, printed in the Guardian, which set out an alternative point of view, and the potential for an alternative type of show: the Social Apprentice.

The basic idea is for 14 social entrepreneurs to take the place of these business high-flyers driven by pure profit. Tasks could be similar, if themed: participants sent out as chuggers on the streets, or organising a big fundraising event (as they will have to in this coming week’s episode), or developing a new product for a social enterprise, or rebranding and so on….the ultimate prize could be £100k towards starting up/expanding their own organisation/initiative, or a job with Anita Roddick or Muhammad Yunus or Al Gore, or someone else doing interesting things socially and environmentally.

People always say at ideas like this (and I’m not pretending I’ve come up with this….BBC/ITV/C4 have all discussed various versions of this or Dragon’s Den with us and other organisations…) that the show will be too worthy and dull, and everyone will get on because they’ll be so ‘nice’, and they won’t have strong personalities etc….these people have obviously never worked in this field. They should come and sit in on a session here at SSE and tell us there’s no passion, ambition, personality or conflict in this world.

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