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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

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The Apprentice – Meet the boys

The Apprentice: (L-R) Howard, Majid, Noorul, Sir Alan, Ben, Phillip, Rocky and James

Ben Clarke
Age: 22
Career: Trainee Stockbroker
Qualifications: BA (Hons) Economics and Business
Lives: Belfast

Belfast born and bred Ben is the rebellious stockbroker who considers himself to be ruthless and money-obsessed. The former Gavin Henson lookalike is inspired by the Playboy brand and cites Hugh Heffner as one of his most admired business figures. Rugby playing Ben admits to being "cocky" but insists that he takes business very seriously. He is a young professional with what he describes as a raw hunger to make as much money as possible.

He says: "To me, making money is better than sex."

Howard Ebison
Age: 24
Career: Retail Business Manager
Qualifications: CIMA part-qualified accountant – BSc (Hons) Maths and Business Studies
Lives: Derby

Born in Surrey, Howard is an enthusiastic businessman who thrives in managerial positions. Howard, an award-winning dancer, self-trained musician and area manager to 10 pubs, believes that people enjoy working for him. Howard, whose teenage jobs included a paper round he got sacked from and a fish and chip shop shift he despised, now describes himself as family-orientated yet equally ambitious within his career. He hopes to one day set up his own consultancy specialising in customer service.

He says: "I am a credible businessman who wants to go far. I'm incredibly ambitious. If I don't go far down this route I shall go far down another route."

James McQuillan
Age: 32
Career: Senior Commercial Manager
Qualifications: MA (Hons) Economics
Lives: Surrey

Family man James describes himself as a "schmoozer" who people feel comfortable around. Football referee, sports fanatic and former child chess champion James is inspired by people with passion and cites the likes of Al Pacino and JK Rowling as his inspirational figures. James, who claims to suffer from "foot in mouth syndrome", has worked as a labourer, trolley collector and a nightclub doorman before finding his niche in commercial management. He describes himself as likeable and selfless and would love to have been the brains behind The A-Team.

He says: "I'm astute and shrewd and smart ... maybe blunt at times."

Majid Nagra
Age: 28
Career: Business Development Manager
Qualifications: BSc Computer Science
Lives: Coventry

Reformed rebel Maj sees himself as loyal with the belief that business is the backbone to the world. Born in Coventry, Maj, who describes his attitude as "never say die", was expelled from school for wayward behaviour but, having changed his life around, he now works with youth centres and charities while running his own car hire business. Describing himself as funny and talkative, Maj says he never shies away from the spotlight.

He says: "I think that business is the backbone to this world – without companies buying and selling, there wouldn't be any economy"

Noorul Choudhury
Age: 33
Career: Science Teacher
Qualifications: GTTP, CIM
Lives: Rochdale

Science teacher Noorul hopes to eventually become a property development millionaire. Fashion-obsessed, he believes that Argos should be banned from selling jewellery and aims to one day start up a men's tailoring business. Describing himself as a straight-talking leader, he loves being kept on his feet and confesses to always putting work first. He believes that business is a cut-throat, dog-eat-dog game that you must play to win.

He says: "I have always been ambitious and driven and I've got the capabilities to deliver. I am not all talk… I can manage a team of people, total strangers, even, because I am feisty and have an attitude."

Phillip Taylor
Age: 29
Career: Estate Agent
Qualifications: NEBS Certificate in Management
Lives: County Durham

Born and raised in County Durham, Phillip, who describes himself as "confident and charming", believes he can deal with people on any level. A self-confessed control freak, he is passionate about all projects he involves himself in and considers himself to be a nice guy who people can relate to. He believes that you should make friends but make money while doing it.

He says: "Business is the new rock 'n' roll and I'm Elvis Presley."

Rocky Andrews
Age: 21
Career: Sandwich chain owner
Qualifications: N/A
Lives: North Yorkshire

Rocky is this year's youngest candidate and already earns more than the salary on offer from Sir Alan. He left school at 16 to pursue a career in football with Middlesbrough United but was soon diagnosed with arthritis – making it impossible to continue. Rocky since decided to start up a sandwich business at the age of 17 – which now includes 15 lucrative shops across the North East of England.

He says: "For me, business is about hard work, attention to detail, being willing to make mistakes and learning from these mistakes."

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