No apprenticeship necessary for Jedi Jim

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AS The Apprentice hits our screens once again, we caught up with former contestant Jim Eastwood to see what life after the show is like for the Cookstown man with the gift of the gab.

Talking to the MAIL during his commute to London, Jim said he has been tuning into the new series of BBC show The Apprentice.

“I’m a fan of the show,” he said. “It’s sort of too early to judge their [contestants] merits. Everybody who is still standing has a chance. There are so many twists and turns, strong favourites can suddenly be fired because the decisions are made on Lord Sugar’s gut feeling.

“The advice I would give them..I always encourage people in business and education and in life in general to be themselves. I think the temptation is for some candidates, to go and be something they are not and I often say, as a cliche- ‘If you fake it, you won’t make it’.

“If someone was to ask me my strategy and tactics, I didn’t really have any per se. I probably just tried to be my self and I’m pretty confident that that’s what came across.”

Jim is busier than ever, juggling between family life with wife Paula and baby daughter Charlotte Rose and his public and professional roles. He has continued as a public speaker, he is also an ambassador for educational charity Young Enterprise and also has a new job as director for Groupon Ireland.

He explained: “I am a family man, I have a young family and I want to make sure that they have the time and the best of me as well. I think I’ve always done my best when I’ve been stretched on all fronts, be it sport, studying or work commitments or whatever it happens to be. I like to be stretched, because we all have lots of potential and only when you are stretched do you get the opportunity to showcase your potential.”

“I was fortunate to a high number of offers and opportunities, and many of them were in the media. I’m a business person and I’ve always been involved in sales and marketing and the most attractive opportunity from a global company, very fast-growing, very topical with lots of responsibility was with Groupon.

“I really enjoy the public speaking, I’m a very positive person and I think I have been able to motivate with lots of different groups and I feel very comfortable in that arena. I think that hopefully I will continue to pursue that as my full-time line of work.”

Jim made it as a finalist in the Apprentice, but failed to achieve Alan Sugar’s ultimate prize of a quarter of a million pound investment, but he has not regrets about his performance.

“I’m the type of person who tries to give everything in any situation, and I feel that’s what I did in the Apprentice,” he said. “Hindsight’s a wonderful thing but you don’t always have the benefit of knowing whether what you are doing is good or bad. I think the thing that holds me in good stead is that I didn’t try to pretend I was something that I wasn’t. I tried to stay true to myself, I gave it my best shot and it worked out very well for me.

“Lord Sugar is a tremendous individual who is very successful. We’re still in contact and he’s a good man to have in your corner.”

The TV show has certainly brought good fortune and Jim doesn’t mind the ‘Jedi’ nickname it has branded him with.

“I think it’s very nice, people could call you a lot worse!” he said. “I thought originally it would only be popular with young people, but it seems to transcend all generations. If people can’t remember my full name, they usually say ‘there’s Jedi Jim!’ and that’s nice. There are positive connotations with the nickname which is good.”

If you would like to book Jim Eastwood for an event, visit www.jimeastwood.co.uk or Jim @Jim_Eastwood_ on Twitter.