Meet the woman we think will go a long way in this year’s The Apprentice


The Apprentice is back, in case you hadn’t noticed.

18 budding entrepreneurs with big egos, sharp suits and sharper haircuts compete to avoid making fools of themselves and secure the big prize – a £250,000 investment from the boss from hell. No, not Harvey Weinstein. Lord Sugar.

To win the quarter million they are forced to live in a a £13m designer mansion in Notting Hill, take part in a series of business-related challenges, and laugh at Lord Sugar’s feeble jokes which get worse every week.

But the biggest challenge is having to get dressed and do their hair and make-up in just 20 minutes every morning – apart from the day when they think they’ve got the day off and Lord Sugar turns up unexpectedly and they are all either still in bed at midday or lounging around in their onesies eating bacon butties with their hair all over the place

The candidates will be whittled down over the next 12 weeks until only one remains. He or she becomes The Apprentice, although they will not actually become Lord Sugar’s apprentice because the prize is a £250,000 investment towards a business of the winner’s creation, with Lord Sugar as a 50% owner.

Pic BBC Jim Marks

This year there’s lots of local interest with no fewer than four contestants from Greater Manchester.

They are, in no particular order, Joanne Jarjue, a digital marketing manager, Charles Burns, a management consultant, Michaela Wain, a construction business owner from Bolton, and PR and marketing manager Jade English, who was born in Macclesfield but lives in Chorlton.

In the first episode last week, the teams competed to see who could make the worst burgers and the most money selling them to hungry Londoners. The girls made a profit of £236.78 whilst the boys managed to lose £114.17. A victory for the girls.

Last night’s episode saw the teams working as interior designers. They were both given an empty room in a posh hotel in Buckinghamshire and a budget of 13k to see who could make a bigger mess.

Having decided to go for a Great Britain theme for their room, the boys painted it in the  colours of the Romanian flag. As you do.

The girls decided to furnish their room with furniture which looked like they got it in a car boot sale.

Unsurprisingly, the judges – the hotel’s manager and a leading interior designer – didn’t like either design so it was left to Lord Sugar to decide the winner. He hated the girls’ design slightly less than the boys’ so the result was another win for the girls. Jeff, the breakdancing banker, was thrown under a bus. Not literally, unfortunately.

Next week they’ll be selling robots. What could possibly go wrong?

So how are the Mancunian candidates doing? So far so good.

In the first episode, Charles was nearly fired and branded disruptive by Sir Alan, so expect him to make a quick exit if he fails to mend his ways or go far if he sees the light in a classic Apprentice twist.

Joanne didn’t do herself any favours in last night’s episode when she asked if fir trees are covered in fur. And she locked horns with Jade so expect fireworks from them in future episodes.

And Michaela is a big character who we expect to go far.

But if you twisted our arms and asked us to choose the candidate who we think could go all the way, we’d choose Jade. She’s flying under the radar at the moment and picking up brownie points along the way.

Find out more about her in the video.

And one thing’s for certain. The Apprentice is guaranteed to provide those priceless ‘did you see?’ water cooler moments in the office every Thursday morning for the next twelve weeks.

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