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Wednesday 28 October 2015

Richard Woods earns hat-trick

Alumnus Richard Woods has won his third task in a row in BBC One’s The Apprentice. We get the inside scoop from Richard about how he thought last week’s famous shopping list task went in France. Richard talks cheese, GCSE French, and what we can expect from tonight’s (28 October) pet trade show task.

How did you find the third task?

So obviously the third task was challenging for a couple of reasons. One was that I was coming off the back of winning the last task, and we had someone with a very different management style to me as project manager. Joseph was very autocratic and he wouldn’t allow for any real discussions. For example, when I asked the question at the start about who spoke French, he shot me down and said I was trying to take over, so it was tough to give an opinion.

In the end we won and we were very happy with that. I was really looking forward to it when I found out it was the shopping list task. When I was preparing to go on the show, I thought the task would take place in London, as it usually does, but Lord Sugar threw a spanner in the works sending us to France where my only knowledge of the language comes from my French GCSE!

Are you a savvy shopper?

I am terrible at shopping in real life. I am the easiest person to sell to. Salesman see me coming a mile off as I always fall for those ‘added upgrades’. When it comes to business though, I always get a good deal, but when it’s for myself I always seem to get ripped off!


The first week was ‘calamari gate’ and this week ‘cheese gate’! Let’s talk Maroilles:

Oh crikey. The thing is I was only able to get 30p off in the end. I thought it was 70p, but the guy started me 50 cents above the shop price! He definitely saw me coming. My bumbling English didn’t serve me well. We made sure we didn’t buy the wrong cheese like the girls did. They got a £50 fine, so actually it still swung in our favour in the end.

We sensed some animosity between you and your team mates when they didn’t back you in the board room. What happened there?

I thought Joseph really ran the task his way and that it felt too much like a dictatorship for the rest of us. What I was saying to Lord Sugar in the boardroom was that, in my opinion, Brett would have been a much better project manager due to the nature of the task and his military background. I could have seen him running a much tighter ship on an operational level.

After getting a taste of what it feels like to be a winning project manager in the last task, did you find it tough to step down and be managed?

I struggle to be managed in whatever I do. I’ve done business for quite some time, as well as owning and running my own businesses. I will admit that I am wholeheartedly unemployable. I either have to run the business or it’s not going to work for me. It’s the same for a few people on the show. It’s an investment in a business, not us applying for a job with Lord Sugar. If it was to simply be an employee, I wouldn’t have applied.

How did it feel to win the last three tasks?

Winning the first three tasks in a row was amazing. The best tactic on the show is not to lose so you don’t have to go in the boardroom. I am really pleased that, three shows in, I haven’t had to face Lord Sugar yet!


What has been the reaction from family, friends and business associates so far?

They are loving it. There is a lot of mickey taking; after this last task it was my French that got a battering! At my digital marketing agency, Yomp, we have just employed three new members of staff, which I am very pleased about. Business is booming.

What can we look forward to in tonight’s episode?

It’s the pet trade show task. It will be another exciting clash between the teams. They say never work with children or animals and now we know why we shouldn’t work with animals! You can look forward to some hilarious animal handling! I for one do love animals though, especially my dog Willy.

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.