The Apprentice winner speaks out on crippling schedule for candidate

The Apprentice: Shannon quits in the boardroom

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Joseph Valente, who won series 11 of The Apprentice, has exclusively opened up to Express.co.uk about how gruelling the process really is for candidates by reflecting on his own experience. The businessman was 25 years old when he won the BBC One series and secured a £250,000 investment in his company. While Joseph is grateful for the opportunity, he admitted the 18-hour days were ” absolutely crippling” for some candidates. 

The Apprentice is now in its 17th series, with Karren Brady and Tim Campbell working as Lord Sugar’s loyal aides as the candidates compete in challenges each week. 

Reflecting on the process, Joseph explained to Express.co.uk: “You are suddenly chucked into an environment where you are working seven days a week and they are 18-hour days. 

“You are being filmed and there is a lot of pressure. You’re completely out of your comfort zone.”

Joseph was expelled from school when he was 15 years old so he had been working for 10 years before entering the competition. 

He shared: “I had a business at the time which I had been running for three years and there were things on [The Apprentice] which I had never done before like product creation and being filmed is very difficult for some people.”

“There are tight deadlines and lots of pressure,” the entrepreneur added. 

“I just saw week after week it was absolutely crippling people – just the lack of sleep alone was destroying people. 

“But I was running a 24-hour maintenance business so I was used to not sleeping.”

He said one element of the process which was difficult was having his and his team’s errors filmed by producers. 

“It was tough especially when you knew something was going wrong as that is when they would be all over you with the cameras,” Joseph explained. 

However, Joseph said he didn’t find being filmed all day “too bad” as he thought it was great practice for what followed after the show. 

“In this day and age, everyone is on camera on social media, but it is tough when you are under pressure.”

It is still early days for this year’s series of The Apprentice, but one candidate, called Shannon Martin, told Lord Sugar she was quitting the process in week two. 

When asked why Shannon resigned from the competition, Joseph suggested: “Maybe she realised it wasn’t for her, or maybe she went for 15 minutes of fame and thought she didn’t have a chance in hell at winning it so, thought the best way was to get out and get recognised. 

“The problem you have when you come out in week one or two is no one will remember who you were. 

“You need to go the distance in the process to get enough airtime and to keep in people’s minds.”

For this week’s episode, the candidates are being sent to Brighton for a negotiation task. 

They must secure and negotiate nine items synonymous with the coastal city and the team which secures the most items at the lowest prices wins the task. 

The Apprentice continues on Thursdays at 9pm on BBC One.  

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