BY LOUISE CONVERY
‘JEDI Jim’ Eastwood took on the role of Alan Sugar when he judged the final of Queen’s University’s Apprentice last Wednesday.
Jim made an appearance at the final of the competition at Queen’s Students’ Union in Belfast, which saw two finalists go head to head to battle it out for best at business to win a prestigious internship with accountancy firm Deloitte.
Jim praised all the contestants’ hard work and advised those who hadn’t made it to the final not to be disheartened as he said it hasn’t stopped him from being successful since.
“Four months down the line it was the best thing that could have happened to me. It’s allowed me to do many things like this, like working with charities and speak out on education.”
Jim then confessed that his cliche-filled pitch of not being ‘a one-trick pony’ was a result of being put on the spot during the casting process of the show -“I thought I had blown my chances,” he said.
After watching videos of the contestants’ performances in previous tasks set by him, Jim grilled the two finalists Nicole McShane and Owen McMeel in a boardroom style interrogation on their final task to market bottled water for charity as well as their overall performance.
“It was interesting putting myself at the other side of the table, playing the Lord Sugar role. I didn’t abuse this privilege, but I thoroughly enjoyed asking the tough questions,” Jim told the MAIL.
“The finalists, and all the other candidates, took it very seriously and certainly were worthy of being shortlisted. I was extremely impressed by their attitude towards entrepreneurship and enterprise.”
After some boasting and backstabbing from the pair as they tried to convince the Cookstown salesman, Jim decided that it was Moneyglass student Owen McMeel who was the winner of the competition.
Owen (21) is a former pupil of St Mary’s Grammar School and is studying Product Design and Development at Queen’s University. He has a keen interest in business and began participating in business projects while at St Mary’s.
“It’s fantastic, obviously to get a foot in the door with Deloitte, it’s a major benefit of the competition, but so is the experience we gained over the whole process,” Owen said.
“In the future it will be great to say in an interview, that in three days during the final task of the QUB Apprentice, with the help of my team I set up a company and we made over £1000 for charity.”