Tattoos can blow your career chances, warns Alan Sugar's ex-Apprentice advisor Mountford
Tattoos ruin many young people's chances of getting a job, a leading Northern Ireland businesswoman has claimed.
Holywood-born Margaret Mountford - who worked for business mogul Alan Sugar for 20 years and appeared on The Apprentice as his adviser - said being inked was "a real problem" for young people entering the workforce.
And she revealed she refuses to have her hair washed by stylists with tattoos.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Ms Mountford warned: "They are a real problem for young people because there are swathes of the workplace where it is simply not appropriate to be greeted by a young person with a tattoo."
George Scharfenberg (42), a skin artist with the Belfast Tattoo collective, said he could understand some of Ms Mountford's concerns.
"I personally think that's ridiculous," he said.
"I don't see how a tattoo affects how her haircut turns out.
"But that's her preference, she's paying the money for the service and she has the right."
He added: "I don't think it (tattoos) affect people's jobs, but usually if someone came to me for a tattoo on their hands or neck then there's a 95% chance I won't do it.
"Once you get that sort of thing done people do look at you differently. There's a chance I could put you out of work.
"My tattoos are visible so you can have problems sometimes. I've gone to bars in Belfast wearing a T-shirt and they've told me to cover up or leave. But I would say the tattoo industry and acceptance of tattoos has changed a lot since I was introduced to it in the early 1990s.
"People would look at you a lot more differently then; now they're more standard."