The Apprentice Winners – What Did They Do Next?

"How embarrassing, we both showed up to work in the same outfit"

Originally written for The Huffington Post

Last week, Lord Sugar unveiled 16 contestants hoping to become his new Apprentice. The series returns to BBC1 today.

If they complete all the weekly tasks successfully they’ll get the chance to work with the grizzled business magnate. However, if you’ve been keeping track, you’ll know that whoever wins this series will be the eighth apprentice Lord Sugar has taken on so far. But does he really need a new one? What happened to the others?

Don’t worry: they’re not locked in a basement somewhere. But interestingly, they’re no longer working for Amscreen, Amsprop or any of Lord Sugar’s other business interests either. They’ve all moved on.

2005’s winner, Tim Campbell, traded his job at the London Underground to become Project Director at Amstrad’s new Health and Beauty division: Integra, where he successfully oversaw the creation of an electronic device that used “galvanic micro-current to stimulate underlying tissue and tone the facial muscles.”

Possibly feeling nothing he could achieve at Integra in the future would beat the creation of an electric face-shocker, Tim left Lord Sugar’s employment in March 2007 to found the Bright Ideas Trust; a charity that provides business mentoring and support to disadvantaged young people.

Is it a good thing to do? Undoubtedly. Is it philanthropic? Certainly. Will it help to smooth wrinkled skin and give people a healthy, electrified glow? Sadly not. But still, two out of three isn’t bad.

Sir Alan (as he was then) got two solid years of work out of Tim so probably didn’t feel too short changed when he headed off for pastures new. His successor Michelle Dewberry didn’t last nearly as long, leaving just four months after the final episode aired.

Since then, Dewberry has built herself a solid business reputation, setting up family friendly ‘Groupon’ style deal sites and appearing regularly on Sky News as a commentator. Impressive, but not much use to Lord Sugar.

Let’s move on to Lee McQueen. Famously caught out lying on his CV during the interview stage of the competition, he’s also a skilled pterodactyl impersonator.

He now runs Raw Talent Academy. The opposite of a graduate recruitment scheme, RTA specialises in sourcing work for young people who didn’t go on to higher education. It runs auditions to recruit, saving the applicants the trouble of lying on their CV. Basically, it’s a cross between a temp agency and Britain’s Got Talent, and according to the website, all the candidates look a bit like this.

Sadly, it doesn’t specify how good they are at dinosaur impressions.

McQueen gave Alan two years, series three winner Simon Ambrose worked for him for four, but he’s not had quite as much luck with staff retention since then. Series five’s Yasmina Siadatan started seeing an Amscreen colleague soon after she was hired and found out she was expecting just weeks into the job.

She became pregnant again while still on maternity leave and left instead of returning to work. Tellingly, her LinkedIn profile still lists her as Business Development Manager at Amscreen. Dealing with two children under two can’t leave you much time to update social networking sites.

Funnily enough, at around that time Lord Sugar decided to vent about maternity leave in the media, saying that women should have to tell potential employers if they plan to become mothers. But if he found Yasmina’s impressive fertility annoying, that probably pales in comparison to how he feels about the next winner, Stella English, who is now suing him for unfair dismissal.

That’s possibly why he chose to invest in his next apprentice rather than offering them a job. Tom Pellereau was given £250,000 towards his business (Aventom) in 2011 after beating Helen Milligan in the final. So far, he’s worked on a collapsible baby bottle, a bowel cancer screening device and an acoustic screen to protect musicians’ hearing that can be attached to a chair. He’s nothing if not creative.

The prize is set to remain as a business investment next year. It seems Lord Sugar has decided to go back to a more efficient model of recruitment for his Amshold companies: putting adverts on the website.


The Apprentice starts tonight, 9pm, BBC1


About Hilary Wardle
Hilary is a freelance journalist and copywriter who writes for a wide range of websites, magazines and newspapers, including Buzzfeed, MSN, The Poke, Chortle, the Guardian and the Independent. She specialises in arts and entertainment, comedy, video games and viral content. Contact her at

One Response to The Apprentice Winners – What Did They Do Next?

  1. Pingback: The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 3: Outsauced « Tellysquawks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: