The BBC Apprentice winners: interview with James White

This year, IT recruiter James White and confectionery store-owner Sarah Lynn won both Lord Sugar‘s BBC investment last year, so The Apprentice eventually had two winners for the first time in history.
Today, James White is in for an interview on winning The Apprentice, being a recruiter and more.

James White The BBC Apprentice 2017 Final Lord Sugar BBC One

Stressed-out recruiters…

Hey James, congratulations on winning.

Oh, thank you very much.

How are you?

Good. Thanks. How are you?

How does it feel to have won The Apprentice with another candidate for the first time in history?

I guess… well, obviously it feels fantastic ’cause obviously I wanted to win and it’s also nice to win along with someone I have a lot of respect for as well… and you know, it’s up to him [Ed. Note: Lord Sugar] to evaluate, and we’ve got two completely different businesses, so yeah, I’m happy.

What was your dream job as a child?

As a… child?!?

Ye-ah. Did you want to be a recruiter?

Haha, absolutely not! I didn’t even know what recruitment was until I was 21. So… emh.. dream job as a child… so what did I like to do as a child… um…

Maybe you wanted to be a football player…?

Haha – you know what, I couldn’t really think of anything – I just wanted to do what led to money – so anything related to money was fine.

How did you realise you didn’t want to be just a regular employee – that you wanted to work for yourself?

Because of… the money.

Always the money!?!

Well, yeah. I think money was what would drive me a lot of times. I didn’t want to work for someone else’s money and not for myself, so I decided that the right thing to do was to work for myself.

What tips can you give to someone struggling to find their way between regular employment and self-employment or business?

My tip would be: know your industry, get your contacts there first. Like, you know, I worked in recruitment for four-and-a-half years before I started my own business, and that gave me the basics to have solid skills in the industry: if you’ve got no experience, it becomes ten times harder. So, even if it’s going to take a bit longer to get your business going, go and get the experience you need first.

If you were not a recruiter, what would you be doing right now? What was your plan B?


Actor? Model?

Being on a beach somewhere. Hahaha.

Just that? Zero working?

Yeah… well, working… emh… you know what – this didn’t even really cross my mind… and yeah… I mean… I would try to make it in a different industry that I know and then…. emh…

Always as a salesman?

Well, mostly: that’s my natural skill… so I’d say yeah, I would still be some kind of salesman.

★ If you enjoyed this article, you may also like our interviews with all the others BBC Apprentice winners from 2011 to 2018: Tom Pellereau (2011)  Ricky Martin (2012), Dr Leah Totton (2013), Mark Wright (2014), Joseph Valente (2015), Alana Spencer (2016) and Sarah Lynn (2017), Sian Gabbidon (2018)

★ And if you want to know why we stopped doing this in 2019, read this

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The one behind the wheel.