Young Apprentice 2012: The finalists revealed!

Patrick McDowell - Young Apprentice 2012

The Young Apprentice 2012 finalists have been revealed, with just four hopefuls now standing.

It's time to face their toughest challenge yet with Lord Sugar deciding who will become his Young Apprentice and win a £25,000 investment into their business future in the final, Thursday December 20 on BBC One.

This year, Patrick, Ashleigh, Maria and Lucy will go head to head to impress Lord Sugar in the final. The wheat will be separated from the chaff as Lord Sugar prepares to offer one of them a life changing opportunity.

In one of the most closely contested series ever, the four finalists will face a final task that will test their business skills to the limit. Divided into two pairs, the teams must create a new brand of sportswear that has the potential to go global. They must come up with a brand name, a logo and a viral video that will get their product noticed. Finally, they must pitch their brand to an audience of experts from the sporting world. The brand the experts deem to have the most potential will win, and from the winning pair Lord Sugar will select this year’s Young Apprentice.

Patrick made an impact in Week One when he created the infamous ‘wetsuit kimono’. After losing the task as Project Manager in the first week, Patrick managed to turn his fortunes around and was never in the final three again. In his second appearance as PM he greatly impressed Nick Hewer with his ability to sell umbrellas on a boiling hot day. Patrick says: “With this fantastic opportunity I would be able to launch myself into the world of fashion. Not only allowing me to pursue my greatest passion, but my creative point of view. It would remove the pressure to find a financial backer or sponsor and allow me to truly flourish as a fashion designer.”

Ashleigh proved her worth early on in the competition, taking on the role as Project Manager in her first week and leading the team to victory. However things did not go so well the second time round, as her team was beaten by a landslide when she later took on the role of PM, leaving Lord Sugar very disappointed. Ashleigh has only been on the losing team twice and in the Boardroom only once. Ashleigh says: “I didn’t enter this process claiming I knew everything but I will leave this process knowing you don’t need a dozen A*s or a silver spoon to be successful Lord Sugar has given me the foundations to create an amazing future for myself, I feel very privileged to have been given this life changing opportunity. It’s not about where I come from or how I speak it’s about where I am going and what I will achieve."

Maria’s strong personality has shone through from the start, and she made Lord Sugar aware of her presence after displaying her forthrightness on the cookery book task in week two. Lord Sugar, impressed by her attitude, decided to keep Maria in the competition and her willingness to get stuck into each of the tasks has been evident ever since. Maria finally took on the role of Project Manager in Week six, which she won with her ‘Strexy’ hair product. Maria says: “I feel I should win Lord Sugar’s investment because personally I have really grown throughout the process. At the beginning I started off on a rocky path but now I feel I am progressing and the only way from here is up. Now it's time to really fight for it and show Lord Sugar my passion and determination for business and prove to him that I am a worthy winner."

Lucy nearly managed to go through the whole process without being in the final three, however her winning streak ran out in the semi-final. Despite this, Lucy was the sole survivor from the losing team to make it into the final. Lord Sugar feels she sometimes sits back and stays quiet however she has only been in the losing team four times, and only been in the final three once. Lucy says: “It’s a real experience to be in the finals after such intense teamwork. It’s a great honour to see your hard work being rewarded and hopefully this will be reflected in the outcome. I will be forever thankful for the fantastic experience and opportunity that Lord Sugar, his team, and my fellow candidates have given me.”

The Young Apprentice 2012 final airs on Thursday, December 20, BBC One at 8PM.