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Tuesday 1 December 2015

Richard Woods' Winning Streak

He has won seven out of eight tasks so far on The Apprentice, and last week Richard Woods was hand-picked to join Team Connexus by project manager (PM) Selina.

We catch up with alumnus Richard to find out more about last week’s party planning task, including ‘cakegate’, and get exclusive insider information about what is in store for tomorrow’s (2 December) episode.

You’ve won seven out of eight tasks, even when you were asked to move teams in last week’s episode! How do you think the party planning task went?

It went really well actually. Charleine and Joseph were absolute nightmares to work with. Although they were probably the reason we won the discount store episode because we were massively competing, which meant we sold so much more than the other team. I was happy to leave but knew I was leaving the winning team to join the team that had only ever won once. It made it essential to win the task because it meant I was a contributing factor to them winning and then I would have won 7/8.

Were you pleased to be hand-picked by Selina to join Team Connexus?

Being picked above everyone else was great. There is a personality part of that though. She wasn’t going to pick Charleine because they were rucking so much. She might have picked Joseph because he had had a good track record. David, she might have gone for, but she couldn’t have Gary as he was PM. I think Selina wanted someone who she could rely on, who was a bit more of a steady ship and that worked well.

Were you concerned that Team Connexus had only won one task up to that point?

Of course I was because I knew the morale was down. That was one of the big things that I could see – that they were looking at their feet and were a little bit exhausted. I genuinely think that a change of personnel and a bit more excitement really helped. I would sing during all our car journeys: ‘we’re going to win, we’re going to win!’ Everyone would say ‘shut up Richard’, but I was quite persistent that we were going to win! Even answering the phone, I would say “yo yo yo super sub-team” just to try to bring the humour back and raise the morale. Though that did become tough at the end of the episode, especially with Varna and her cake issues.

Richard recently came back to visit Solent

Tell us more about ‘cakegate’. Why was it that you and Varna didn’t quite see eye to eye?

Oh my god, don’t touch my cake! Varna really annoyed me because she was a bit of a ‘non-event’ for the whole task and even for a few weeks she hasn’t done much. She has just been hanging on in there saying ‘Oh maybe we should do this…’ No, come on Varna, we just need to get this thing set up, get the food cooked and make the cake. So I baked the cake and spent ages doing it and we had to leave it to cool. Raise your hand if you have heard of leaving a cake to cool. Everyone knows that. She then had to keep on tinkering with it and touching the icing. Get off my cake! Anyway, she touched my cake and I wasn’t happy.

She was very passive on this task and I needed more from the person who was trying to help me in the kitchen. I got a lot of flak for not bringing out the food on time. To be quite honest with you, Varna just spent the whole time not really achieving anything so I had to spend half my time telling her what to do, and half my time trying to get the food out. If she just did what she needed to do I could have just focused on what I needed to do.

You definitely made your opinions known to Selina during the task and she seemed to take all your feedback on board. What did you make of her as PM?

Selina was good as the PM and she did stay true to her brief, which was that she wanted to make the party really exciting with glitter, all very creative. I was really glad to be in charge of the finance aspect of the task as I knew that was what would win it for us. ‘The first money saved is the first money made’ is one of my favourite sayings. I knew that if we saved the money at the start that it would be a lot easier to win the task, even if we just got a bit of an upsell.

How did your friends, family and colleagues think you handled last week’s task?

Well, we have an exclusive here as my wife has joined me. How Cara, wife of mine, did I handle last week’s task?

Cara: “I think you did really well. Withholding the budget – I think that’s the best thing you could have done. He does get a little bit angry and loses his patience sometimes like he did with Varna, which is actually something he does quite a lot. He tends to love being in control and if there is anyone irritating him or asking questions, he does explode like that, not all the time but leave him to it. Leave the man to it, even if he’s wrong.”

Richard with his wife Cara, who he met while studying at Solent

Were you sad to see David leave?

Yes, I really was. David was my buddy. He slept in the bed next to mine. He was the guy I would have a little chat with in the evenings. He’s an interesting character. He runs his own business, is a young guy and he has been very successful. If you watched the ‘You’re Fired’ show you would have seen him do his ‘slug dance move’ and it was just hilarious. He was always the guy I could have a bit of a giggle with. I miss David actually.

We guess you were hoping Charleine would get the boot after she went to leave the boardroom early?

Yes, I did hope Charleine would get the boot after task one and have never stopped feeling that way. She is an absolute nightmare but she is a force to be reckoned with. A little bit of me was happy she did that though [got up to leave early].

We hear next week’s task involves the candidates becoming property agents. Sounds like a tricky one!

It’s a very exciting episode this week. We have to sell high-end, very expensive apartments. Some of them aren’t even built yet, so it’s quite exciting. I always give a cheeky exclusive for this interview and the exclusive is that I am project manager this week.

Tune in to The Apprentice, 9pm, BBC One, Wednesday 2 December to see how Richard gets on. 

Richard has a 2:1 BA (Hons) Business and Entrepreneurship from Solent (graduating in 2005), and has gone on to start four successful businesses, including digital marketing agency Yomp.

Richard will be attending our open day on Saturday 5 December. If you’re thinking of attending university, book your place now to see what Solent has to offer.