The Junior Apprentice

For the past five weeks, 10 young candidates from across the UK have faced an education like no other as they embarked on a series of tough tasks that pushed their business skills to the limit, in BBC One’s Junior Apprentice. The tasks were challenging, demanding and tough – and there could only ever be one winner.

Seventeen-year-old A-Level student Arjun Rajyagor beat off stiff competition from nine other talented teens to land the title Junior Apprentice and access to a £25,000 fund, which will go towards kick-starting his business career. He becomes the first ever Junior Apprentice and will now continue to concentrate on his education before developing his future career.

In last Thursday’s final task, Arjun and fellow A-Level student Tim Ankers worked together on Team Instinct opposite the final two girls, Zoe Plummer and Kirsty Cleaver, who led Team Revolution.

The teams were tasked with creating their own brand of bottled water. They had to come up with a name, develop the product identity and film a TV advert complete with jingle before presenting their prototype to leading industry experts – and Lord Alan Sugar.

Tim and Arjun and their team – consisting of Emma Walker, Rhys Rosser and Adam Eliaz – developed a simple product and a straightforward brand identity in place with “A Bottle of Water”. Their confident pitch was made even stronger with their assured response to questions from the floor, impressing the experts and Lord Sugar.

Meanwhile, Zoe and Kirsty’s team – consisting of Jordan De Courcy, Hannah Cherry and Hibah Ansary – developed a brand aimed at the youth market with a stylish design, but a mixed consumer message. The experts were impressed with their presentation, but concerned that suggesting their water could be of benefit to people’s health was unjustified.

In the nail-biting final boardroom scene, Lord Sugar expressed just how blown away with their efforts he was as he told them: “The presentations that both teams put on were absolutely incredible. You are an inspiration.”

Lord Sugar told Zoe and Kirsty that he thought their TV advert “looked like a mugging on a council estate,” and Zoe responded by saying: “What’s already out there are numerous, countless bottles of simple water. We wanted to go for something bold, something fresh and something that targets a market that hasn’t already been targeted.”

He told Tim and Arjun: “The bottle of water was very simple, very defined and quite clearly I understood the concept. The marketing idea didn’t quite come off that well, the pitch wasn’t that great but the professionals were very, very, very impressed.” Arjun and Tim were keen to show Lord Sugar that they worked well as a team, with Arjun saying: “[Tim] sourced the ideas and I brought them to life – we worked well together.”

After some careful deliberation, Lord Sugar told the girls: “Ladies, your business model was flawed in the target market that you chose. On balance, I’m sorry to say that your team has lost. It’s a hard loss because I can’t stop going on about how impressed I’ve been with both of you throughout the whole of the contest. I know you’re going to be successful and I want you to go on and do what you’re good at doing.”

He went on to tell Kirsty: “You want to be a little more upfront and not so much of a busy bee behind the scenes,” and said to Zoe: “You’ve got it all, you just need to get that character right.”

The boys won the task, but Lord Sugar was left with a tough decision. After consulting Nick and Karren, he made his final verdict as he told them:

“Arjun, I’ve spoken of your apparent soft nature, your clear academic qualifications. My concerns about you adapting and trying to show that you can actually come up with that seed and spark of an idea that is needed in business.

“Tim, you started off, we were a bit concerned about you, to be honest with you. There were times when I was really tossing up in my mind if you should be on your way home.

“It’s a tough choice. And I’m not going to worry about the runner-up, because I know that the runner-up is going to succeed anyway.”

For decades a supporter of young people in business, Lord Sugar decided to give 10 of the UK’s most ambitious and driven teenagers the opportunity of a lifetime, and he wasn’t disappointed.

Over 28,000 applied, only 10 made the cut. Lord Sugar’s search for his first Junior Apprentice has come to an end.

After the final, Arjun said: “It’s been an amazing opportunity and I can’t believe I’m the first Junior Apprentice. It’s absolutely mind-blowing and it hasn’t even set in yet. Tim was the greatest opponent anybody could have ever wanted. My parents are so ecstatic and I hope I’ve done them proud. To think of the amount of opportunities this will open up for me is just amazing.”

Lord Sugar said: “Arjun has that natural business flair combined with intelligence that some people are born with – you can’t learn it. I know that Arjun is going to become the best at whatever he wants to do and I will be here for support all the way. I was so impressed with all of the candidates – they were outstanding for their age – but there had to be just one winner, and Arjun has done himself and his family proud.”

On runner-up, Tim, Lord Sugar said: “It was a very tough choice – Tim is a very bright lad whose family and friends should take great pride in seeing how well he did in such a tough contest. I know that he is going to succeed in whatever he chooses to do. Any time he wants to call me for any advice he’s genuinely more than welcome to, 24/7.”

Tim said: “It is always hard coming so close to first after such a long process, but to have been placed below such a capable candidate as Arjun makes it a lot easier. I wish him all the best for the future and intend to stay close friends with him.

“For me, now, concentrating on my A-Levels is paramount and I could also do with a good offer of employment! It was such an enjoyable experience – one which I will never forget.”

Kirsty said: “It is disappointing. I got so close but, at the end of the day, I’ve learnt so much from this experience and I’m leaving this with my head held high. It’s just amazing to think how far I have come.”

Zoe said: “I came here to prove my business mind, my business acumen, my intuition and skills and that is what I did. I may have fallen slightly short of the last hurdle here but that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of me. I’m going to keep on working and be a success in business.”

Arjun is in the process of completing his A-Levels whilst continuing to run his computer repair business from home. He has received a conditional offer to study engineering science at Oxford University and hopes to one day become his own boss of an electrical engineering company.

Arjun Rajyagor

Age: 17

Education: A-Levels in physics, maths and systems & control, AS-Level further maths

Lives: Essex

Self-confessed maths fanatic Arjun loves computers – he built his own aged 12 and now runs a repair business from his bedroom.

He says: “Always look at the end goal and find a way to get there. Do what has to be done and never allow yourself to look back in regret.”

 

Lord Alan Sugar has named his first ever Junior Apprentice.

17-year-old Arjun Rajyagor has taken out the BBC One competition after winning last night’s branding task alongside Tim Ankers.

Rajyagor took away a prize of £25,000 to fund his fledgling career in business.

The final task saw the remaining contestants Tim Ankers, Zoe Plummer, Kirsty Cleaver and Rajyagor split into boys and girls teams and compete in a branding exercise for bottled water.

Sugar was impressed by the pitch and polish of the boys campaign ‘A Bottle of Water’ while the girls youth-aimed campaign was less celebrated. Sugar commented on the girls TV advert as looking “like a mugging on a council estate”.

After advising Plummer and Cleaver they would not be the Apprentice, Sugar deliberated with advisers Karen Brady and Nich Hewer before naming Rajyagor the winner.

“[He] has that natural business flair combined with intelligence that some people are born with – you can’t learn it. I know that Arjun is going to become the best at whatever he wants to do and I will be here for support all the way.

“I was so impressed with all of the candidates – they were outstanding for their age – but there had to be just one winner, and Arjun has done himself and his family proud.”

Speaking after his win, Rajyagor said: “It’s been an amazing opportunity and I can’t believe I’m the first Junior Apprentice. It’s absolutely mind-blowing and it hasn’t even set in yet.

“Tim was the greatest opponent anybody could have ever wanted. My parents are so ecstatic and I hope I’ve done them proud. To think of the amount of opportunities this will open up for me is just amazing.”

Ankers was gracious in defeat: “It is always hard coming so close to first after such a long process, but to have been placed below such a capable candidate as Arjun makes it a lot easier.

“I wish him all the best for the future and intend to stay close friends with him. For me now, concentrating on my A-levels is paramount and I could also do with a good offer of employment! It was such an enjoyable experience, one which I will never forget.”

Source: Digital Spy

 

Another Junior Apprentice hopeful has been shown the door after a heavy defeat in this week’s task.

16-year-old Emma Walker has been fired by Lord Alan Sugar after her team Revolution, led by Arjun Rajyagor, were crushed by rivals Instinct in the task which involved selling Dutch designer products in the UK.

Walker’s Revolution took a £10,171 profit while Instinct pocketed a record-breaking £39,785.

Project manager Rajyagor, Walker and Zoe Plummer returned to the boardroom to dissect the result with Lord Sugar and his associates, with Karen Brady questioning Rajyagor’s skills.

“Do you think you did as good a job as Zoe? They weren’t pleased with the pitch,” she said. “The feedback was not as good as the feedback about Zoe’s pitch.”

But Lord Sugar sent him through to the final based on previous performances before commenting on Plummer.

“You might not know this, you might not recognise it and it takes someone like Uncle Lord Sugar here to point it out to you, that you have this ability to rub people up the wrong way. I’m afraid that is a bad trait in business and I get the feeling that it is [your] way or no other way.”

His choice though, was to sent Walker home.

“Emma, I think you’ve got something there, there is no question of it,” he said. “Zoe, what worries me about you is, will a leopard ever change its spots? Emma, I’ve got no worries whatsoever about you succeeding, so with a heavy heart and much regret – you’re fired!”

The 16-year-ld remained upbeat after the elimination, saying she is proud of herself for making it to the semi-finals.

“I’m just extremely proud of myself. I’m definitely going to carry on with business long-term; it is going to be my life.”

The Junior Apprentice final will screen Thursday night at 9pm on BBC One.

Source: Digital Spy

 

Hannah Cherry has been fired from The Junior Apprentice.

The 17-year-old was a major part of Team Instinct’s loss during this week’s task which saw the contestants selling pieces of art.

Lord Sugar blamed Cherry for her team’s loss in the task to rivals Team Revolution. Instinct finished with a £2,247.30 profit opposed to Revolution’s £6,005.

Project manager Tim Ankers brought back Cherry and Kirsty Cleaver into the boardroom where Lord Sugar laid into Cherry, claiming she didn’t contribute much in the task.

“You always seem to be hanging onto Tim’s coat tails following him around for some sort of security!” he said.

After listening to the contestant’s reasons for keeping them in the competition, Sugar fired up saying: “Listening to you I feel like van Gogh and want to cut my ear off!”

“Hannah, you are a prime example of someone who is brilliant on paper – there is no question about that – but in the past four weeks I have felt you haven’t shown me practical skills.

“On balance, academic qualifications are important but practical application of it is the next step so I’m sorry to say Hannah – you’re fired!”

Cherry remained upbeat after her elimination from the BBC one show, saying: “My one goal was to try my best and not have any regrets and I’ve left here really happy. I’ve had a taste of what it is like and I want to carry on. I’m excited for my business academy and I’ve still got my invention so hopefully in the future there is going to be more of it and I can’t wait.”

Source: Digital Spy

 

Rhys Rosser has been given the flick by Lord Alan Sugar from The Junior Apprentice.

The 17-year-old is the third candidate to be fired from the BBC One show after failing in the latest cupcake challenge.

However this week’s episode also saw Adam Eliaz leave the show due to illness, with those involved believing it worthwhile for him and the others that he should head home.

Rosser, meanwhile, was project manager for Team Revolution in the challenge which saw the two teams attempt to design and sell cupcakes. His team lost £89.74 in the challenge whereas Zoe Plummer-led Instinct made a profit of £15.15.

Bringing back teammates Hannah Cherry and Tim Ankers into the boardroom, Rosser accused the pair of holding back during the challenge.

“I think that is another reason why Tim and Hannah wanted to be in the backroom,” he said. “‘Oh let’s make him make the mistakes, let’s wait for someone else to trip up and fall’… I wouldn’t call it sabotage, I’d call it tactics. They were all very happy to see the task go down the drain.”

But Lord Sugar ultimately saw Rosser as the key to the team’ failure, but sent him home with some encouragement.

“Rhys I’m convinced you’ve got it in you,” Sugars said, “You’ve got fire in your belly for sure. It comes out maybe at the wrong time.

“Rhys, you are a very special person don’t ever forget that – I said it. This is a milestone. Rhys I’ve made my decision – you’re fired!”

Source: Digital Spy

 

The Junior Apprentice contestant Adam Eliaz has said he struggles to work alongside girls in business terms.

The 17-year-old Londoner voiced his opinions on how he believed that men are “better in business” than women and that this came to the fore when he was put in charge of the girl’s team revolution on the latest episode of the BBC show.

“I think gender does matter. Men are better in business purely because we have more physical capabilities. I think men are more respected in business,” Eliaz said on the show.

“I can work with anyone, but I do feel like girls can be very bitchy.”

Eliaz’s inadequacies were revealed when he led Revolution to a spectacular failure in the camping merchandise challenge.

Lord Sugar’s advisor Karen Brady described Eliaz as behaving like a “headless chicken” during the task.

For a recap of the latest episode click here.

Source: Digital Spy

 

The second contestant has been fired by Lord Alan Sugar from The Junior Apprentice.

16-year-old Hibah Ansary has been eliminated from the BBC reality show after playing a part in her team’s failure in this week’s sales task.

Ansary was brought back into the boardroom along with Zoe Plummer by her project manager Adam Eliaz after the team failed miserably to rivals Instinct in a task which saw them teams attempting to sell items to stores.

Lord Sugar criticised Ansary for not having the “cut-throat nature” needed for business while scolding leader Eliaz for his lack of leadership.

“Adam, you have got a lot of enthusiasm but you really lost control of the task. Hibah, I’ve observed only in the last two weeks that you are very articulate. Adam, on balance, I like your spirit.

“Hibah, my instinct is that the cut-throat nature of business is not suited to your personality, so with regret – you’re fired!”

Ansary talked afterwards about the experience: “This process has shown me how important success is to me. I really do fear failure. I’m still going to carry on with my dreams of studying medicine and I hope that I’ll be really successful at it one day.”

The winning team this week got to enjoy a private fireworks display at Kew Gardens as a reward.

Source: Digital Spy

 

The first Junior Apprentice contestant was fired by Lord Sugar in the boardroom last night.

16-year-old Jordan de Courcy was given his marching orders after he led his boys team to a loss in a cheese-selling task.

His Ignite team made a loss of over £200 during the exercise while the triumphant girl’s team pocketed £100 in profit.

De Courcy took fellow team members Tim Ankers and Rhys Rosser into the boardroom and while Lord Sugar picked holes in each of the contestant’s performance he deemed De Courcy’s worthy of dismissal.

“They say cheese gives you nightmares… it’s certainly working here, isn’t it?” joked Lord Sugar in the boardroom.

However, he praised the teenager for making it this far.

“When you get back to school and everyone asks you about this, let me tell you this, when they were scoffing their crisps and drinking their cola, you were here,” he said. “Don’t ever forget that.”

Later in the car on the way home De Courcy commented on how he would become “more successful than Lord Sugar” in the next five years.

The Junior Apprentice continues next Wednesday on BBC One.

Source: Digital Spy

 

Zoe Plummer, 16, from London. Studying for AS-levels in English, French, German, drama and art. Sells vintage clothes at Greenwich market in her spare time. Wants to start a foreign law interpretation firm.

Tim Ankers, 17, from Lancashire. Head boy, studying for A-levels in politics, history, economics and general studies. Earns money from gardening and farm work (he rears and shears sheep).

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