Engineers in uproar following Lord Sugar’s disparaging comment on The Apprentice

On last night’s episode of The Apprentice, Lord Sugar enraged engineers across the country when he said “I’ve never come across an engineer who can turn his hands to business.”

Lord Sugar pronounced his controversial opinion before firing Glenn Ward, a 28-year-old senior design engineer from Hertfordshire.

Sugar’s comments came hours before engineering consultancy giant Atkins released a cracking set of financial results, proving clearly that some engineers can thrive in business.

Peter Hansford, president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, pointed to the Queens Birthday honours list as proof of engineers prowess in business.

“Obviously this was just a throw away comment and we have no reason to think that this is a commonly held view,” said Hansford.

“Only this week eleven civil engineers were named in the Queens Birthday honours announcement - engineers contribution to society and indeed business has never been more evident.”

Added to that, a backlash against Lord Sugar has begun on Twitter with many name checking successful engineers such as James Dyson, Henry Ford and Bill Gates. The following is a list of some of the more eye-catching tweets:

@welsh_gas_doc Sacked for being an engineer? Shows that invert-snob, bitter Alan Sugar is scared of professionals. Stupid decision.

@andrewscheuber Lord Sugar has “never met an engineer who can turn his hand at business”. Never met Larry & Sergey from Google then?

@dmfreedom I’d rather go into business with an engineer than a banker.

@senseilp So, why put an Engineer through The Apprentice process, if Lord Sugar thinks he can’t work with them??

@dazzer1004 Sugar has never met an engineer who has been successful in business: he’s obviously yet to meet James Dyson.

@SueDBA Sugar, you are a prat. Does ’Dyson’ mean anything to you?

Predictably enough leading figures within the engineering industry have come out fighting today in support of their profession.  

Alan Watts, vice president of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, proudly claimed that the business world was littered with engineers who could disprove Lord Sugar’s assumption.

“He clearly doesn’t get out enough to meet the wide variety of successful engineering businessmen,” said Watts.

“Engineers and technologists in most years form around 15% of FTSE 100 companies’ directors. Sir James Dyson, Sir John Rose (Rolls Royce) and Sir Robin Saxby (Arm) are just a few of the better known engineers and designers who can ’turn their hands to business’ and do it very well.

“I realise Lord Sugar’s comment was meant to be somewhat tongue in cheek and certainly makes good television. However in the real world engineers do turn their hands to business and do it rather well in fact.”