A marine who served in Afghanistan, a surgeon and a woman who claims to have single-handedly helped Tesco to dominate Kosher food sales are hoping to win The Apprentice this year.

Candidates aiming to triumph in the boardroom on the BBC One show were announced on Tuesday, battling for a plum role at Lord Sugar’s side with a six-figure salary.

The 16 wannabe tycoons will be put through their paces in the interview from hell when the series returns next week.

No longer “Siralan” after his peerage, Lord Sugar has warned the new intake: “I’ve read all your CVs and on paper you all look very good. But then again so does fish and chips.

The tough-talking multi-millionaire added: “I need someone who is dynamic and ambitious and is not scared to take a risk. I’m not interested in any Steady Eddies or Cautious Carols. I’m looking for someone who is exceptional.”

This year’s candidates include 24-year-old Melissa Cohen who swapped hairdressing for food business management, pushing Tesco’s share of the Kosher food market to 75 per cent.

Mortgage Broker Christopher Farrell was formerly a sniper in the Royal Marines and served in Iraq, Northern Ireland, and Afghanistan. He said: “I take that killer instinct across into business.”

Another of the boys, Shibby Robati, is a qualified surgeon before turning to the business world and is still only 27. He said: “My first word wasn’t Mummy. It was money.”

The new series will also include the youngest ever contestant, telecoms entrepreneur Stuart Baggs who is just 21 and began in business in the school playground selling yo-yos.

Lord Sugar is accompanied by adviser Nick Hewer and businesswoman Karren Brady, vice-chairman of West Ham, as he weeds out the weaker candidates.

CLICK here for our photo gallery of the 16 Apprentice hopefuls