Social worker and The Apprentice hopeful claims he is “the best in the world”

Steven Ugoalah spent a year in the Arctic doing community development social work and currently runs his own consultancy and property portfolio

Pic credit: BBC One

The Apprentice boss Sir Alan Sugar has, for the first time, got a social worker amongst his hopeful candidates.

But it’s fair to say that Canadian Steven Ugoalah does not suffer from self-doubt and there could be concerns about his ability to engage in reflective practice.

In his audition for the BBC One show Ugoalah describes himself as “the best social worker there is”.


“I’m the best social worker in the world. I’m the best social work consultant in the world. There’s nobody better than me. Nobody. I’ve never come across anybody who’s better than me.”

Before moving to London, he spent a year travelling the Arctic to do community development social work with remote Inuit communities.

He said: “Very few people have ever done social work in the Arctic- been the only social worker in the Arctic- and I did an excellent job of doing that.

“Lord Sugar would love me, I mean what is there not to love?”

Ugoalah currently runs his own social work consultancy as well as managing a property portfolio. He is now battling 19 other candidates to win a £250,000 investment and the chance to go into a business partnership with Lord Sugar.

He describes himself as resourceful, dynamic and a great negotiator, but says he often becomes frustrated when people don’t have the same high standards as him. He says he approaches his clients by ‘selling them a dream’ that they can take home with them.

“I can deliver in minus 50; I can deliver in plus 10. If we went to Mars right now, I’d find a way to be excellent.”

He has no regrets, because having learnt from all the mistakes in his life, he is now perfect.

The Apprentice starts on Tuesday 14 October at 9pm on BBC One. Follow the conversation about it on Twitter with @judithcoops and @ComCareLuke or on #bestsocialworkerintheworld

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21 Responses to Social worker and The Apprentice hopeful claims he is “the best in the world”

  1. social jerk October 10, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    What a knob

  2. Bo October 10, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

    Speechless!…… As a fellow social worker I despair reading an article like this. I’m really pleased that he is making a success of his life but maybe he could leave the here and now social work to others who may be a little more grounded, just sayin!!!!!

  3. Dee October 10, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    Fabulous that is all the profession needs, arrogance at it’s finest!!

    The day you think you know it all is the day you walk away because you are the most dangerous type of social worker !!!!

  4. Pat Curran October 13, 2014 at 12:14 am #

    If I was a service user this person would frighten the life out of me given his apparent superior attitude.

    • alison lewis October 13, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

      as a current service user and carer myself I totally agree with your comment,

      I have come accross some that think they are the best since sliced bread, but have also been and are currently supported by some fantastic service managers.

      I would love the opportunity to challenge Steven

  5. Steve October 13, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    what a fool

  6. Philip Measures October 13, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    Time CAFCASS went after him!!!

  7. Kim October 13, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    Is this man registered as safe to practice??

  8. Jane L October 13, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    What a good representative of our profession -not.
    I can’t believe that any service user could engage with him- would it be personalisation and choice or his opinion of what’s needed?
    Scary – I don’t think he will last long on the apprentice- Lord Sugar will see him for the arrogant self opinionated twerp that he is.
    I despair that the general public will see him as a typical representative of a social worker.

  9. Julie October 13, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

    Some of us who studied for our degree in social work take our role seriously , he should concentrate on his buisness as i do not see how that creep could be a good social worker , would he listen to his client or tell them what he thinks is best , he is a disgrace

  10. Andrew October 13, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    He is on the HCPC register, just checked. There is hope for pretty much everyone then.
    Some people slip the net!
    Arrogant through and through!

  11. Stuart October 13, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

    So could somebody explain what exactly is wrong with believing in yourself, striving for excellence, being dissatisfied with mediocracy and trying to win a TV game show??

    • Steve October 14, 2014 at 10:33 am #

      I would suggest that there is a world of difference between self confidence, an understanding of your profession so that you can offer the people that you work with the best service of your abilities, they are qualities I would admire. But Steven comes across as arrogant, not confident. I am sure that he has great experience in the field, but how you conduct yourself also speaks volumes about your personal characteristics. Occasional self doubt encourages reflective practice. I wonder whether Steven ever reflects on things that didn’t go as well? it sounds as though everythings always goes perfectly in his view, which isn’t possible or realisitic, and results in dangerous practice.

      What concerns me more is that detrimental inpact that this may have on a professional already under ideological attack by the Conservative party. I am nor sure that Lord Sugar will be favourable toward him, he doesn’t always suffer fools gladly on this how…not that I will be watching.

  12. ButtonBrownie October 13, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    I cannot wait to see the hammering he is going to get on Twitter after he’s been on. I’m guessing he burned all his copies of Dominelli’s work in order to keep warm when he was in the arctic????

  13. Sonya October 13, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    Just what we need as a profession – a jumped up know it all, Let Lord Sugar at him I say – bring him down a peg or ten….. lets just sit back and watch………………

  14. Dawn Dowuona-Hyde October 13, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

    Is he for real??? What happened to ADP and reflective practice??? God help…

  15. Chris October 14, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    I actually quite like the guy!! Don’t rule him out just yet guys!! Let’s give him a chance, and see what he brings to the table

  16. Jim Greer October 14, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    Entering a programme like the Apprentice is like preparing for an internationally broadcast Prize Fight. He has to psych out the opposition. Many boxers believe that the fight is won before you even get in the ring. His bravado is part of his tactics to win.
    We know nothing about how this man engages with his service users and cannot make assumptions based on his profile for a reality television programme.
    Many top Barristers project an arrogant and confrontational persona but they use this to advocate for the they are fighting for who are sometimes the victims of gross injustice.
    If this man challenges people’s stereotypes of what it means to be a social worker and stimulates debate about how we project ourselves to the public then that can only be positive.
    Please give him a chance- and remember its only a daft tv programme.

  17. Andy October 14, 2014 at 11:52 am #

    Oh dear me, I’m sure he’s a very effective performer but I’m surprised he’s taken that sort of arrogant and brash technique into the realm of social work where subtle diplomacy and negotiation amongst a huge range of personnel, agencies, client groups and sensitivities is surely a primary and essential skill…

  18. Nicki October 14, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

    I can’t help but think that surely proclaiming oneself to be better than everyone else is in many ways antiethetical to social work and professional principles of valuing equality and diversity. Perhaps this results from clever editing, but it’s hard to see how anyone who has learnt about reflective practice can be so self assured. Personally I think that good practice comes from partnership with other professionals, communities and service users and as such to state you are “the best” would be something of an oxymoron.

    • Jim Greer October 14, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

      He is entering a competition where he has to outperform the other competitors.The nature of the business machismo that Alan Sugar cultivates requires someone to be very self-assured. They have to try to emulate him. Of course Alan Sugar would make a very bad social work manager because people would be afraid to approach him to talk about about their concerns about their cases.
      Steven would also make a bad colleague if he told other social workers or other professionals that he was better than them in a normal workplace. However this is not the normal workplace- Its a tv show.