Young Apprentice 2012: Who wins? Ashleigh Porter-Exley!

Ashleigh Porter-Exley - Young Apprentice 2012

Ashleigh Porter-Exley has been crowned the winner of the Young Apprentice 2012 this evening.

For the past eight weeks, 12 young candidates from all over the UK have faced an education like no other as they embarked on a series of challenging tasks that pushed their business potential to the limit.

17 year old Ashleigh Porter-Exley triumphed after stiff competition from 11 other talented teens to land the title of Young Apprentice and access to a £25,000 fund, which will go towards kick-starting her business career. Ashleigh becomes the third Young Apprentice, following in the footsteps of 2010’s Junior Apprentice winner Arjun Rajyagor, and 2011’s Young Apprentice winner Zara Brownless.

In last night’s final, Ashleigh and teammate Lucy triumphed against Maria and Patrick on their final task, where they had to create a new sportswear brand that could go global, as well as an accompanying viral video, before pitching their idea to industry experts alongside Lord Sugar himself.

Ashleigh and Lucy, with a little help from former candidates Andrew, Max, Sean and Alice, impressed Lord Sugar with their ethical streetwear brand, Release. They saw off competition from Maria and Patrick, who were joined by Amy, David, Steven and Navdeep, and their cycling brand, CYC.

Lord Sugar explained the result saying: “I listened to what the experts had to say about both your brands, and I do have to take their advice. I had to think about which concept was going to work in a very crowded and competitive market. I’m sorry to disappoint one of you, but that’s how it is, business is business. The team that won the day was Ashleigh and Lucy. It was for a much better brand with a much stronger idea behind it.”

After Patrick and Maria lost the task, and therefore left the competition, Ashleigh and Lucy went head-to-head in the final boardroom.

It was a tough decision between the two girls, with Nick and Karren highlighting to Lord Sugar the pros and cons for both candidates and Karren admitting: “I don’t envy your decision!”

In the nail-biting final boardroom scene, the girls revealed what they felt they had learnt from taking part in the competition, and why they believed they should win, before explaining what they planned to do with Lord Sugar’s investment.

Delivering his final verdict, Lord Sugar said: “Lucy – I do believe that you’re very intelligent and very articulate and I do think that you are a worthy winner, there is no question of that at all. Ashleigh – I’ve seen you take over tasks during the course of the last seven weeks and sometimes bring them through. I’ve seen you controlling what’s going on and it’s been a great privilege to have had you here in this process. The problem is that I’ve really got to think about where the £25,000 investment is going to be best spent. On that basis, it’s a very, very tough call, but what I’m going to say is, for sheer and utter graft – Ashleigh, you are the winner of this year’s Young Apprentice.”

Reflecting on her win, Ashleigh said: “It’s just absolutely amazing to know that I’m the winner and that Lord Sugar is willing to invest in me. It’s the best experience I’ve ever had. You can have as much work experience as you like but the skills I’ve learnt while being here is just unbelievable. I can’t wait to get home and tell my family and friends. I’m so excited to see my parents and my little brothers, they’ll all be so proud.”

Ashleigh is planning on using Lord Sugar’s investment to either set up her own business in property management or to create her own accountancy firm.

12 candidates. One winner. Lord Sugar’s search for his 2012 Young Apprentice is over.

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