An ambitious student’s time on Young Apprentice came to an end on Thursday (November 29), but it’s bound to be just the beginning of his business career.
Luton Sixth Form College student David Odhiambo was the fifth person this series to be ‘fired’ by Lord Sugar, leaving seven candidates still in the competition.
The former Barnfield West Academy head boy is now starting a business which teaches key skills for enterprise and innovation at schools and community centres, and he will study economics at university next year.
The 17 year old said: “I’ve been knocked down so many times but I always come fighting back. Not winning was a real reality shock. It made me realise that I have to work harder and push myself more.
“Being in the boardroom was challenging. I hated the thought of going in there, and the possibility that I could let my family and friends down. I do feel that I was maybe too truthful, which lead to my downfall. I constantly second-guessed myself and my abilities, and this lead to me being seen as vulnerable by the other candidates so people brought me back to the boardroom.”
David said he is recognised in the street “all the time” now, but the best thing about going on the show was meeting young people who share his work ethic, and learning about business practically, outside of the classroom.
When asked what Lord Sugar is really like, he said: “Lord Sugar was as sharp as he is perceived, I’ve read about him, I’ve watched him but being on the show made me realise how much faith he has in the young generation. He doesn’t have to do this show but he does it because he want us to showcase our abilities and prove to the nation that the next generation of entrepreneurs will be better, stronger and hopefully wiser.”
Viewers of the show might think they know it inside-out, but David revealed it was nothing like what he expected.
He said: “The whole thing seems like different world. I went in with one simple rule- do not end up in the boardroom, yet within a few days I had a chair in the boardroom that practically had my name on it, the Losers’ Cafe waiter knew my order!
“I wish I would have shut my mouth in the first week, the first boardroom had a ominous chain effect on my final outcome in my time on the process. I also wish I had been more ‘assertive’.”
The student was seen arguing with fellow Lutonian Amy Corrigan, but he said he will keep in touch with them some of the candidates.
When he was asked if there were any he didn’t get on with, he said: “No comment.”
Offering some insight into the remaining candidates he said: “I think that Navdeep (Nav)is not only the strongest candidate for the process, her skills, personality and work ethic place her on a different level to the other constants. She was extremely fun to live with , despite Lord Sugar’s comment that she might not be business minded, I know that she is adaptable and suitable for any challenge that is chucked her way. If not me then I would like her to win.”
In the episode that saw David fired, his team made a profit of £470 selling holiday licenses compared to the other team’s £10,950.
Lord Sugar said on the show: “David – basically nothing ever went right for you. You could be a very unlucky fellow but sometimes there’s no smoke without fire. For that reason, regretfully David – you’re fired.”
David said: “I didn’t expect to get fired that week simply because the failure of the task was down to the concept. Everyone worked hard- I can’t doubt that, but if we were being fired on merit and accountability then Ashleigh should have been the one to be fired. And on most of the weeks I was genuinely shocked I was in the bottom three.”
With his fighting spirit, Kenyan-born David is sure to go far, and he is already hoping to inspire other local young people to get started in business too.
He said: “I don’t think there are enough business opportunities for young people in Luton, that is one of the reasons I am starting a business that is based on the key skills of enterprise, so that hopefully we can see a growing trend in young people building successful businesses.”
> Young Apprentice airs on Thursdays, 8pm on BBC One.
by Connie Primmer