List of The Apprentice candidates (UK series four)
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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.
Raphael "Raef" Bjayou 27, was educated at two independent schools: at Westbrook Hay School in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, where he became school captain, and Haileybury and Imperial Service College in Hertford Heath (also in Hertfordshire). He later attended the University of Exeter, where he obtained a degree in Politics and History. He is a life member of the Exeter University Debating Society and claims to "have never lost an argument yet". He prides himself on his accent and appearance. His interests include acting, lawn tennis and reading.
Bjayou struggled in the first episode of the series, getting called back to the boardroom after misindentifying some fish, but he led his team to victory in the next task and soon became one of the favourites to win. He became popular for his distinctive dapper appearance, mannerisms, and sayings such as "The spoken word is my tool", as well as his defence of Sara Dhada when other candidates in the house ganged up on her., in the second week of "You're Fired!" he was nicknamed "Lawrence of A-Raef-ia" by the panel. He also earned praise from Sir Alan Sugar as a "really nice chap", and Bjayou in turn claims to have an e-mail "rapport" with Sir Alan.
After being dismissed in Week 9 of the show, he suggested to the press that he would like to pursue a career in the media, and has appeared in an episode of the comedy panel show, 8 out of 10 Cats. He landed a reporting job on Richard & Judy. He was a contestant on the second series of The Underdog Show, but was eliminated in the fifth week. He has also appeared on Ready Steady Cook, where he beat fellow Apprentice contestant Claire Young, and on Celebrity Come Dine With Me.
Jennifer "Jenny" Celerier is a 36-year-old sales manager and single mother from Western Park in Leicester. She prefers to be known as Jennifer but owing to the name confusion with Jennifer Maguire she was called Jenny in The Apprentice. Born and raised in Suffolk, she began her career working for the Probation Service before returning to De Montfort University to study Marketing.
Prior to her appearance in The Apprentice, Celerier worked her way up the career ladder, culminating in her winning a British Excellence in Sales and Marketing Award – the UK's highest level of recognition for sales executives. She also overcame the effects of meningitis in 2006. Immediately prior to her appearance in The Apprentice she was a sales representative for The Mark Group – a loft insulation company which has an office in Beaumont Leys.
Celerier was fired in week seven for inconsistencies in her statements about whether she knew the meaning of "kosher" while trying to blame Michael Sophocles for a purchasing error relating to a kosher chicken that their team had been tasked to buy. In the same week she attempted to bribe a supplier into not dealing with the opposing team. While Sir Alan later said that he would not have fired her for this unless it altered the outcome of the task (which it did not, as the shop turned down the bribe and any resulting fine for the other team would still not have cost them victory), it helped convince him that she deserved to go. Along with Shazia Wahab she was the only candidate (not counting the final) that eventual winner Lee McQueen never worked with during the series.
In more than one episode Celerier was seen in heated arguments with her fellow contestant Lucinda Ledgerwood (and also Sara Dhada later on in the series), which many viewers saw as verging on bullying. She has been compared to Katie Hopkins from Series 3, and has since been perceived as a villain of the show. Soon after firing her, Sir Alan Sugar described her as a "snake".
In the summer of 2008, Celerier teamed up with fellow Apprentice candidate Kristina Grimes to found The KGJC Partnership to promote excellence in business performance.
Nicholas de Lacy-Brown
Nicholas de Lacy-Brown is a 24-year-old trainee barrister from west London. His birth name was simply "Nicholas Brown", but he incorporated his grandmother's name "de Lacy" to add an element of sophistication. He was educated at Our Lady of Sion School, an independent school in Worthing, West Sussex and at King's College London.
He was fired in week one after pricing lobsters at a quarter of what they should have been selling for. During the boardroom that saw him fired he committed what was seen as one of the biggest boardroom gaffes ever when he told Sir Alan that he felt unable to get on with people who like football, evidently forgetting Sugar's former role as Tottenham Hotspur chairman.
On 29 May 2008, de Lacy-Brown's leg was crushed after a lorry reversed into a wall which then fell on him. He needed several operations on the leg. In October 2008, de Lacy-Brown was seen at a production of La Cage Aux Folles in London, still sporting crutches. As a result, he was unable to attend the filming of The Apprentice: You're Hired along with the other candidates, and so was represented by a cardboard cut-out held up by Jennifer Maguire. He owns a website which features his artwork.
Sara Dhada, born 1982, is an international used car saleswoman and barrister who describes herself as a "true example of pure class and elegance". In Week 6, Dhada was the victim of finger-pointing both in the boardroom and afterwards from other candidates who felt she had not pulled her weight on the task. However, fellow candidate Raef Bjayou (and, to a lesser extent, Claire Young) defended and supported her during the ordeal. She was fired from the series in Week 8, after her team, led by Helene Speight, lost the Wedding Fair task. In the after-show interview, Dhada stated that she did not believe she was responsible for the loss, but deserved to be fired based on her poor defence of herself in the boardroom.
Lucinda Ledgerwood, 31, is a risk manager from Edinburgh (although she was born in Singapore), and educated at several independent schools, and she claimed to have changed schools around every couple of years. On the programme, she said that she comes from a wealthy background. She has a BSc in Psychology and Neuroscience from Manchester University. Ledgerwood's first job was with Ernst & Young. She joined Ernst & Young on 9 October 1998, and has also worked for Merrill Lynch. She reputedly earned £120,000 a year as a contractor, more than the prize wage for the show, but claims not to be motivated by money.
Fellow candidates Lee McQueen, Raef Bjayou, Helene Speight and Claire Young praised her management style on numerous occasions. She was fired in week 11 because Sir Alan thought her too "zany", and because she had doubts about fitting into the job. She was notable on the programme for her colourful wardrobe and for being the victim of office bullying from other candidates (especially Jenny Celerier and Helene Speight), but later emerged as a highly capable and popular project manager. Her dress style was heavily criticised by The Daily Mail, but praised by The Guardian.
At the time of the programme, along with James Max, she was the most successful candidate in the history of the programme, winning eight out of ten tasks, and coming fifth overall as a semi-finalist (Helene Speight and Alex Wotherspoon finished joint third in the final). However, in Series 7, Helen Milligan exceeded this record, winning ten out of eleven tasks and finishing in second place. Perceived by much of the audience as a standout candidate, Nick Hewer praised her on The Apprentice: The Final Five as "a gutsy girl, in a quiet way". Margaret Mountford also gave her much praise, saying "I think Lucinda is a lot better than she appears to have been so far – hats and cleavage or no hats and cleavage." She also received much praise from former runner-up Ruth Badger in Ruth's appearance on the You're Fired! show. On The Apprentice: Why I fired them, Sir Alan Sugar praised Lucinda as having "exceptional skill", and felt that she would have been "fantastic" in the role of working for him, but explained that he did not feel that she would have been willing to apply her mind to the job.
Since leaving the programme, Ledgerwood has expressed interest in a career in the media and in herbal medicine, which she studies part-time at Edinburgh Napier University. She has also served as a BBC assistant presenter at Royal Ascot 2008, and as a cover host for Danny Baker's slot on BBC Radio London 94.9. She is currently in discussion with a number of production companies and works on behalf of the Prince's trust. She appeared as a contestant on Celebrity Scissorhands, but did not make it to the final three who appeared live on BBC Children in Need.
Jennifer Maguire is a 27-year-old marketing consultant, originally from Dublin, who said that when she first ran an office, she made £60,000 in six months with no training. She described herself as "the best saleswoman in Europe at the moment". She was fired in week 7.
In August 2008, she appeared in RTÉ's reality television show Fáilte Towers. As of March 2009, she runs a chain(two) of photography studios in Ireland. She is currently appearing as a reporter on RTÉ's satirical clip show Republic of Telly.
Lee McQueen is the Managing Director of Raw Talent Academy from Watlington, Oxfordshire, where he lives with his wife Nicola McQueen (born c. 1980) and daughter. Born in Perivale, London, McQueen is the son of a milkman. He was educated at a state comprehensive school, Queensmead School, in South Ruislip. He bought his first house at the age of 18 and then went on to buy another one for his mother. His first job was as a Catering Manager at Harrow School.
After working at Harrow School McQueen went on to spend 12 years working in recruitment with Capita Resourcing where he was managing a business unit before going on to The Apprentice (UK TV series) 2008 Series 4.
During Series 4 McQueen was caught out lying on his CV and had a record of 7 wins and 3 losses including winning both his tasks as project manager and never featuring in the bottom three on his way to winning the series finale which saw a record 10 million viewers tune in. McQueen went on to work for Lord Sugar's newly launched company Amscreen, of which Lord Sugar's son Simon Sugar is the CEO, as the business development director where his first major deal was with BP. After two years in the role McQueen decided to leave Amscreen in June 2010 to pursue public speaking and to set up his own company,
In September 2010 McQueen set up Raw Talent Academy  with the aiming of providing "internal sales academies to both SMEs and Corporate businesses and give the huge amount of Raw Talent in the UK a career in Sales through training, development and mentoring".
Lindiwe Elissa Mngaza, born January 1985, is a business liaison manager with an NVQ in Customer Services. She was born in Bury, to a Zimbabwean father and a South African "royal" Zulu mother. She moved to Birmingham, aged three, living in Northfield and attending the Kings Norton Girls' School. She then studied Performing Arts at Solihull College, whilst starting a business at the age of 17, which she ran for two years. At 19, she worked for Phones 4U. She now has her own house in Bromsgrove. Her role model is fellow dyslexic Richard Branson – she admires his entrepreneurial achievements. She was disappointed to be fired in week five, saying she did not have time to "showcase her skills".
Kevin Mark Shaw (born 1983 in Bath) was a district manager for the Halifax bank. He lives in Woking. He went to the Norton Hill School in Midsomer Norton and started work at the NatWest bank in Wells, becoming a bank manager by the age of 19. He was fired in week 6, It was suggested in that week's You're Fired that Kevin might have been able to save himself if he had taken Jenny back into the boardroom instead of Sara and Claire.
He then moved on to work for Santander as a Wealth Manager.
Kevin Shaw was invited to become a Partner of St James's Place Wealth Management in 2010 and now currently runs a practice in Mayfair London and Surrey.
Simon Smith is a senior satellite television engineer who despite nine years service in the Royal Artillery and a self-avowed IQ of 170 only reached the most junior Non-Commissioned Officer rank of Lance Bombardier; a rank that, in his own words, carried "massive responsibility". He specialised as a surveyor. He was fired "with regret" in week four, as Sir Alan thought he was efficient but out of his depth.
Michael Sophocles was educated at the independent Highgate School in north London. He is a 22-year-old telesales executive. He has been the subject of some controversy, firstly for being a self-confessed "arrogant" person, and secondly, most notably, for claiming to be "a good Jewish boy" on his application to the show, but under closer questioning not knowing either the meaning of "kosher" or the common Hebrew toast "L'Chaim" (translated "to life" as per the Fiddler on the Roof song of that name). The ineptitude of Sophocles, who read classics and history at Edinburgh University, prompted Margaret Mountford (herself Cambridge-educated) to opine that "Edinburgh isn't what it used to be".
He escaped from being fired four times in a row. On one of these occasions (Week 7) Sophocles' over-enthusiasm and tactics actually reminded Sir Alan of himself when he was younger, although he later expressed regret about this in The Apprentice: Why I fired them, saying "Sir Al doesn't get it right all the time, you know." He was fired in Week 10. Sophocles later described himself as a "dead man walking".
Since leaving the show, Sophocles has admitted to once working as an escort to fund gambling debts. When Sophocles talked to newspapers about his former relationship with X-Factor contestant Katie Waissel, it was revealed that she had gone to the papers while he was on The Apprentice to sell the story.
Helene Speight is a 32-year-old global pricing leader at General Electric responsible for growing profits and market share. She was born in Leeds and studied at Prince Henry's Grammar School, Otley and now lives in London. In June 2000 she was employed by General Electric and worked there until 2009. After The Apprentice, Speight returned to GE and was promoted to a General Manager of a manufacturing company, she also embarked on an Executive MBA at Henley Business School. She was fired in the finals after her team made an expensive bottle unfeasibly cheap, resulting in their losing the task. She was one of the few candidates that never sold a story to the press and those close to her say she has very mixed feelings about the experience.
Ian Stringer is a 26-year-old software sales manager, who has worked for BBC local radio (Three Counties Radio) and once had a No. 8 hit in the charts when he rewrote the lyrics to Tony Christie's "Amarillo". He claimed that "losing" and its synonyms are not words in his dictionary. He was fired in week three. In the Why I Fired Them special from later in that series, Sugar deemed Stringer to have been the worst candidate from this series, and branded him "an absolute waste of space."
Has a golf handicap of 43, and has gone though 15 pairs of hair straighteners since starting to use them at the age of 12.
Shazia Wahab is a 35-year-old mosaic artist and company director. Her family, including her 11 brothers and sisters, hold a Guinness World Record for the number of university degrees held between them in the United Kingdom. She was fired in week two after her desertion of her post led to the mix-up of laundry items, resulting in some customers' laundry going missing. This was considered the shock firing of the series, and Adrian Chiles agreed with her own opinion that she was scapegoated by fellow contestant, and then-project manager, Jenny Celerier. Nonetheless, Sir Alan stuck by his decision to fire her, flatly stating that whatever Jenny had done wrong in the task, he had no intention of ever employing anyone who made such a basic mistake as losing customers' clothing. Shazia was the only candidate who fellow candidate Kevin Shaw never worked with during the series.
Alex Wotherspoon, 24, was educated at the independent Bolton School in north-west England, and has a BSc Honours Degree in Managerial and Administrative Studies (MAS) from Aston University. Born in Bolton on 30 December 1982, and currently working as a Regional Sales Manager, Wotherspoon has a responsibility for a team of more than thirty sales agents at Sainsbury's Energy. He began his working life as a landscape gardener, before going to Texas for a year where he worked as a Loan Officer. Wotherspoon believed that he could have won The Apprentice because of his tenacity and communication skills, but admits he can sometimes be forgetful. He made it to the programme's final (as one of the last four contestants), but his group of two was struck off. In his free time he boxes and ballroom dances.
Along with Michael Sophocles and Jenny Celerier, he was perceived as a villain, owing to his Machiavellian, backstabbing tactics in the boardroom, most notably against Simon Smith, Claire Young and Lucinda Ledgerwood. He was also blamed for damaging the previously harmonious cooperation between Lucinda and the eventual winner of the Series Lee McQueen. Series 3 contestant Tre Azam described him as "a good sales person" but said that he had "never met a snake like him" and was highly critical of Wotherspoon's bringing up of Lucinda Legerwood's doubts about fitting into the job in her final boardroom meeting, resulting in her firing in week 11. Series 2 runner-up Ruth Badger was just as scathing, saying he "would not survive five minutes in my business". Several internet blogs and forums dubbed him "Weasel Wotherspoon". Former celebrity contestant Clare Balding also criticised his behaviour on The Apprentice: You're Fired! along with DJ Trevor Nelson who called him "a wuss", comedian Michael McIntyre called him "a joke", and radio host Vanessa Feltz branded him a "snake". Even Sir Alan was critical of his backstabbing of Lucinda, saying "I did not think that was necessary" but that it "certainly showed his character", and describing Wotherspoon as overly defensive. Post-Apprentice, Alex has had a quite successful career doing many things from modelling to working for a law firm As of March 2009 he has been doing many 'speaking engagements' with younger children. He also returned in March to Aston University to speak to current students as part of Enterprise Week.
Claire Young, 28, is a senior retail buyer for Superdrug, buying hair care products. She has a BSc in Equine Science from the University of Bristol. Claire was born in Johannesburg but from the age of four was brought up in Wakefield, where she went to St Hilda's primary school in Horbury and Wakefield Girls' High School (both independent schools). Her appearance has been likened to that of Girls Aloud's Kimberley Walsh (a "size 16 Kimberley Walsh'").
Questions were raised about her suitability for the show because of her "racy past", as well as the revelation that she had previously applied, numerous times, for reality show Big Brother. In week 4, having been reprimanded by both Sir Alan and Margaret Mountford for her attitude towards her project manager Simon, it was thought that she was going to be fired when Sir Alan told her to leave the boardroom, but he added that she was to go back to the house and become project manager again. She learnt to control her impulsive and chatty ways and was later to be a runner-up in the series. She currently lives in Tooting, south London, although her parents still live in Thornes in south Wakefield. Claire holds the Apprentice record for the most boardrooms survived; she was in the final boardroom five times across the series, and still got to the interviews (Syed Ahmed from Series 2 was also in the boardroom five times, but was fired on the final occasion).
After The Apprentice she was offered a job at Birmingham City FC after Karren Brady warmed to her while taking part on the show. She had been due to take up the job in September 2008 (a post thought to have offered more money than Sir Alan's one hundred thousand), but later declined, commenting that she wanted to set up her own consultancy. As of March 2009 she is running a wedding planning and consultancy business.
On 9 March 2011, Claire attended an arranged visit at Kings Norton Girls School to inspire students in relation to their business enterprise challenge. She returned to the school in 2012 for the 'careers week'.
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