List of The Apprentice candidates (UK series three)
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Candidates are listed alphabetically by series; individual candidate information is accessed by clicking on their name below.
Table of contents
Where a date of birth is not provided, the age given is as of the time the relevant series aired.
Simon Ambrose was educated at the independent Westminster School before gaining an MA in Economics at Magdalene College, Cambridge, graduating with a double first. It is reported that Simon became a member of Mensa at age 13 with an IQ of 174. He describes himself as "sexy, competitive, proud and ambitious" who does "his best work under pressure". Since being made redundant from the Investment Bank Credit Suisse, he has tried his hand at a number of internet-based entrepreneurial ideas. Percy Ambrose, his paternal grandfather, is a jeweller and self-made millionaire. His father, Russell Ambrose, has many business interests with an annual turnover of £50 million. Ambrose was the winner of series 3.
Ghazal Asif, a 23-year-old Glaswegian of Pakistani descent, was the youngest candidate in the series; indeed her age proved to be a cause of concern to Sir Alan. She speaks five languages and planned to establish her own business in fashion if she did not win the programme. Her ambition is to be a millionaire by the time she's 30. She was fired in week 8. Ghazal Asif has now launched her fashion clothing label, Ghazals Couture.
Tre Azam was born on 15 August 1979 to Pakistani immigrant parents. He is second in a family of seven and is described as "forthright, opinionated and a bit of a maverick". He started work aged 10, building PCs in his father's factory. He worked in various countries in Europe and Asia before running his family company's US operations. In his spare time, Azam enjoys kickboxing, martial arts and philosophy. He was once involved in a car crash in France, after falling asleep at the wheel, which left him in a wheelchair for nine months. Although he has metal plates in his spine and legs he walks without difficulty. He is married with two children a son and a daughter, Ayaan and Aliyah.
During his time on The Apprentice, Azam was in the winning team in 7 out of 10 tasks, more than any other series three candidate. He attacked the programme for editing him badly, claiming that his character had been "dumbed down".
Azam appeared on Big Brother's Big Mouth and was on the green carpet for the IIFA Awards 2007, that took place in Britain. Azam has posted videos of his opinions on popular video website YouTube and had a column on The Apprentice website, commenting on the series 4 episodes. He criticised many of the series 4 contestants as lacking business acumen or integrity. In November 2008 Azam was found guilty of falsely claiming thousands of pounds of state paid benefits and was ordered to serve 80 hours of community service and costs of nearly £7000.
Gerri Blackwood was in the running for a job with the Security Services and had to withdraw from the process just days before filming for The Apprentice started. Having reached the position of Business Development Director by the age of 30, she wanted a new challenge to test and develop herself. When interviewed in the lead-up to the Series 3 launch, the 33-year-old said "It's easy to have confidence when you are a big fish in your own pond, but to suddenly be thrown into a sea of sharks you have a bit of a reality check".
After her final episode was shown on television, Blackwood was misquoted by The Daily Star that the female members of the show were forced to shower together, and appeared on the front page - much to her embarrassment. The article also claimed that Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford fed the candidates misleading information so they would fail the tasks and that Sir Alan Sugar's rants were re-filmed to make them look better. Fair to say the journalist had sensationalised what Gerri had said but there was an element of truth in the candidate being made to look like chumps to make 'good TV'.
Following the show, Gerri got married and settled back into the corporate world of professional services where she keeps quiet about her 'flash in the pan fame' and focuses on re-building her reputation as a serious businesswoman. With a full-time role that takes her across the EMEIA region - and two young children - she says she doesn't have time to watch TV any more!
Paul Callaghan was educated at the independent King Edward VI School in Southampton in Southern England. He was an artillery officer who saw active service in Iraq, and ended his service as a Lieutenant. He said: "My lack of commercial experience might be a weakness but my leadership and organisational qualities are definite strengths". This was disproved by his performance as project manager in week 6, and he was fired for being "a total shambles". He had a close relationship with fellow candidate Katie Hopkins during the show.
Iftikhar "Ifti" Chaudhri, a British Asian of Pakistani descent, built his successful tile business from scratch, has ambitions of owning his own leisure centre and is currently applying to join the Tae Kwon Do team for the 2012 Olympics.
"When you can break bricks with your hands you believe in your head you can do anything, and in business I take on the same ethic," he says. He left the show in the second week after telling Sir Alan that he was missing his family. This is the earliest occasion in any series that someone has been fired "with regret".
Straight after leaving the show Ifti opened up his first shop; Eclipse Tiles in Ealing, West London. The shop was named after the team name Ifti made in the show. He opened up his second store in Twickenham a year later. Ifti has also opened up a sandwich shop in Twickenham and is due to open up another Tile Shop.
Ifti has recently taken part in various charity events involving his martial arts.
Ifti was elected as the first Muslim Councillor on Runnymede Council in May 2012 after a very hard fought campaign where he canvassed over a thousand houses and delivered thousands of leaflets. He has ambitions of going much higher the political ladder and one day becoming a senior minister. He is a very capable and energetic politician representing the Conservative Party.
Kristina Grimes (born 31 October 1970) is a businesswoman from Julianstown, County Meath, Ireland. Before appearing on The Apprentice she worked as pharmaceuticals manager. She reached the final of the competition and finished runner-up to Simon Ambrose. This was widely regarded as a surprise, as Grimes had been considered the bookmakers' hot favourite to be hired by Sir Alan. Grimes was promoted to the final when original finalist Katie Hopkins, with whom she had a personal conflict, pulled out.
Grimes gave birth to a son, Graeme Grimes, at the age of 17 whilst living in the Republic of Ireland. Of her pregnancy, she has said: "At the time I had my son, girls were sent away to hide their pregnancy. Once they gave birth, they gave up their babies and went back as if they had never been pregnant. I was the only one who kept my child. In my mind I felt I had to live by my mistakes; not that I felt Graeme was a mistake." She went on to achieve a degree in mathematics.
After leaving The Apprentice, Grimes received 140 job offers. She chose to become the investment sales director with Isle of Man-based property company Dandara. Subsequently, Grimes has founded The KGJC Partnership with former Apprentice contestant Jenny Celerier. The company promotes excellence in business performance. She currently lives in Harrogate whilst her son Graeme is attending university in Birmingham.
Born to Roy and Anona Hopkins in 1975, Katie Hopkins was sponsored through university by the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and claims she can "out press-up" most men. Her goal is "to be CEO of a large global brand builder by 40". She is a single parent from Devon with two daughters. She claimed to be the highest paid candidate on £90,000 a year (a claim since denied by her ex-employers, who dismissed her after the series was aired), and is a partner in her ex-husband's brand-building firm.
Hopkins has become something of a pantomime villain since her time on the programme, especially on internet forums, although Sir Alan Sugar has come to her defence. She was also mocked on The Friday Night Project in their "Friday night news" segment. They reported on how Katie Hopkins had "got the sack", referring to her being sacked from her job because of details of her private life which were revealed in the tabloids. Show host Alan Carr commented on this, saying "Normally when Katie gets the sack she grabs it in her right hand and rams it down her throat". Hopkins herself appeared on the show the next week, only to be met with heavy booing from the audience. Carr also told her that she should learn not to "put out" on a first date.
Hopkins was a contestant on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 2007. She also stood as a candidate for the South West England seat in the European Parliament. She finished 13th, with 8,971 votes.
Adam Hosker was born on a council estate in Blackburn, Lancashire. He has an ambition to run an internationally successful company after being one of only a small number of students from his comprehensive school to graduate University. He graduated in Sport Management. He claims to earn three times the average wage of the kids he went to school with. He says "My strengths and my weaknesses are often the same thing – on occasion my confidence can come across as arrogance to those who don't know me."
There was controversy surrounding Hosker's exit from the show following a "North–South" rift with a number of the other contestants, particularly Katie Hopkins and Paul Callaghan. Hosker is now a Director in a North West-based I.T. Company (I.T. Team Solutions, according to the North West News) after leaving his position as a Sales Manager in a car dealership. An article in a local North West newspaper stated that he is involved in the design of Sport Management Software for use in elite sport. His only regular public appearance was as a match presenter at Blackburn Rovers where he was seen making the half-time announcements on the pitch, although he has now relinquished this role.
Andy Jackson, a 36-year-old car salesman from Leeds, is a father of three. His hobbies include playing online poker, buying and selling cars, and trading on eBay. "My passions are winning, winning and winning," Jackson says. He was fired in Week One.
Jadine Johnson is young, tenacious, determined and ambitious and likes to be noticed she won a place at Goldsmiths University but turned it down on the basis that she needed an income as a single parent to support her daughter at the time. She moved into banking and was promoted from Cashier to banking hall manager and then sat banking exams to become a qualified Personal Financial Consultant, a total of three promotions in one year.
It was quoted by a reporter that "Jadine when aged 8 use to grill crisp packets at home to shrink them and put them on keyrings to sell them for 20p at school" Jadine is also a qualified Interior Designer, a great cook, a dedicated mother and a lover of fashion spending most of her youth reading her mothers VOGUE magazines and Marie Claire.
Jadine was fired in episode nine of the series owing to her missing her daughter. Sir Alan spoke highly of her afterwards though, and suggested that she might even have gone on to win the series, had it not been for her forced exit. Asked by Sir Alan Sugar to keep in touch and return for the final personally off air, immediately after she was fired. Jadine returned where both Kristina and Simon wanted her on their team. Jadine aided Simon Ambrose to win with a midnight pep talk in the final episode.
Jadine's daughter is now 17 and studying four A'levels: History, Maths, Economics, English Literature and Language. Jadine went on to gain vast experience working for a millionaire in Watford, Hertfordshire setting up and running a highly successful company for him after he head hunted her to do so. Now a successful businesswoman in her own right Jadine heads up an Interior Design company: 97 INTERIORS, a food company: Eleven Island Bites which is no surprise as Jadine cooked for the house whilst on the Apprentice and most recently her own clothing line, having been featured in GRAZIA by Fashion Editor Laura Craik, loving her sense of style mentioned Jadine's turned up collars, the likes of which she had not seen since Grange Hill, Jadine's high end clothing line sees her collaborating with other equally talented designers.
Sophie Kain has a PhD in Theoretical Physics. She works as a research scientist for an aviation and shipping design company. Kain commented "I can understand the technical side of things but also have vision."
Lohit Kalburgi, 25, was born in the United Arab Emirates (his parents are of Indian origin) and has been a resident of five different countries. Starting his first company at 16, he says "I would like people to see me as the nice guy. My game plan is to be myself and get on with things". Kalburgi lasted until Week 11, when he became the first candidate to be fired as a result of the interviews – although he had a narrow escape in Week 9 when Sir Alan thought he most deserved to be fired, but let Jadine go as he felt she was suffering from stress too much to continue. He is the first openly gay UK Apprentice candidate. After leaving the show Kalburgi launched his own company, PashFash, a new men's fashion label, for London Fashion Week 2007. He is currently a design consultant for BT Retail in London.
Rory Laing, 29, was born the youngest of three boys and brought up near Dublin, Ireland. His family moved to England when he was aged 5. He was educated at the independent Malvern College and graduated from Ravensbourne College with a Degree in Product Design and then the University of Bristol with an Msc in Entrepreneurship. He had employed over 400 staff across his three previous companies, including Kate Middleton. These companies were all operating in the events industry, predominately supplying staff to large summer events like Henley Royal Regatta and Royal Ascot.
He stepped up as project manager on a design task in the second week, and was noted for his insistence on absolute discipline, including ordering his team-members to take off their blazers while he kept his on in order to clearly show who was in charge. This autocratic leadership style resulted in Rory being in near constant argument with Tre Azam, cumlinating in an aggressive exchange at midnight, with Laing arguing that he was the team's "boss," and Azam replying that he was only the project manager, eventually ending in Azam telling him that "You're nothing to me." The eventual result of the task was the worst defeat in the show's history at the time for Laing's team, and despite Ifti Chaudhri leaving the show that week due to missing his family, Sir Alan felt that Rory had been such a weak leader that he fired him anyway. Rory thus became the first candidate to be victim of an unexpected double firing.
Although fired in the second week, his design in the final, when he returned as part of Simon Ambrose's team, helped Ambrose to win the competition. Laing ran The London Zeppelin Company, the company behind the Stella Artois: Star Over London, which he set up after approaching the German airship company Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH. The flights were the first Zeppelin flights offered to the public since the Graf Zeppelin in 1932. The company was reported dissolved as of 24 February 2011 and Laing now runs a company called Lark Aerial Systems Ltd.
Naomi Lay, 26, from Cornwall, was originally a PA and is now a Sales Team Manager for Advertising.com. She has visited Sierra Leone and Russia where her father worked in diamond and gold mining. "People that know me would describe me as loud, motivated, fun, determined, compassionate and energetic".
Lay graduated from University College London with a 2:1 in Modern European studies and is fluent in both French and Spanish after spending time studying at the Sorbonne in Paris and the Complutense University of Madrid.
Lay was fired from the programme during the tenth episode. The majority of the audience on You're Fired disagreed with the decision and Simon Ambrose was considered to have deserved be fired that week for failing to manage the team properly. Sir Alan subsequently acknowledged that her firing might have seemed unfair on the basis of that task, but added that she had never once impressed him in the ten weeks she had lasted, and felt that she had been "incredibly lucky" to get that far without being fired.
After The Apprentice, Lay returned to Cornwall where she was regularly talked about on the local radio station, BBC Radio Cornwall. She was one of the judges on the Radio Cornwall Singing Sensation competition at the Royal Cornwall Show.
Natalie Wood is a mother of two and former receptionist who believed she would thrive under Sir Alan's management. "I admire Sir Alan's achievements and attitude, I like the way he is with people. Who needs the truth wrapped up with fairy lights? Say it how it is!" she says.
Wood took issue with Adrian Chiles, host of spin-off show The Apprentice: You're Fired!, over a comment he made about her accent. Chiles, who has a distinctive Birmingham accent, asked Wood on the spin-off show whether her Essex accent had been a hindrance. "But how can you pick up on my accent when Sir Alan is sitting across the table", commented Wood. "How can he say that? Essex is fantastic and I'm proud to come from Essex. A lot of people from Essex are very successful. I find it hard to swallow."
Wood is now an admissions officer in a London School.
- Series One Contestant profiles — the men at BBC
- Series One Contestant profiles — the women at BBC
- Series Two Meet the Boys at BBC
- Series Two Meet the Girls at BBC
- Series Three Meet the Boys at BBC
- Series Three Meet the Girls at BBC
- Series Four Meet the Boys at BBC
- Series Four Meet the Girls at BBC
- Series Five candidates at BBC
- Series Six candidates at BBC
- Series Seven candidates at BBC
- Series Eight candidates at BBC
- Series Nine candidates at BBC
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- "Family backs Simon's Apprentice bid".
- "Ghazal Asif's Official Web Site".
- "Ghazal Asif". The Internet Forum. 20 March 2007.
- "Ghazals Couture".
- Heather Greenaway (1 June 2008). "Apprentice reject Ghazal launches fashion label". Sunday Mail.
- "Tre Azam's Official Web Site".
- "Tre Azam". The Internet Forum. 20 March 2007.
- Daniel Kilkelly (29 April 2007). "'Apprentice' star Tre hit tree at 70 mph". Digital Spy.
- Daniel Kilkelly (22 April 2007). "'Apprentice' star complains about editing". Digital Spy.
- Holmwood, Leigh (2008-06-10). "The Apprentice: Tre Azam slams this year's candidates". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-04-09.
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- "Gerri Blackwood". The Internet Forum. 20 March 2007.
- "Paul Callaghan". The Internet Forum. 20 March 2007.
- "BBC Interview with Paul Callaghan".
- "Ifti Chaudhri". The Internet Forum. 20 March 2007.
- "Drogheda's Kristina going for gold in BBC's The Apprentice". Drogheda Independent. 4 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-14.
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- Hazel Davis (2008-06-12). "From The Apprentice to director in a year". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-06-12.
- "The Apprentice Series 3 - Who's Who". MSN. 29 October 2009.
- "TES - Teaching jobs, resources & ideas from the Times Educational Supplement".
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- "Digital Spy Forums-KATIE: The ULTIMATE Apprentice VILLAN!!!".
- "Sir Alan tells Jonathan about The Apprentice and fame". BBC Press Office. 11 May 2007.
- "Andy Jackson". The Internet Forum. 20 March 2007.
- "Dr Sophie Kain". The Internet Forum. 20 March 2007.
- "Lohit Kalburgi". The Internet Forum. 20 March 2007.
- "Naomi Lay". The Internet Forum. 20 March 2007.
- "Natalie Wood". The Internet Forum. 20 March 2007.
- "Candidate with Essex-appeal gets boot". The News of the World. 26 April 2007.