Apprentice winner shines in Suffolk

As a teenage checkout girl at her local supermarket star apprentice Michelle Dewberry knew she was destined for bigger things.

Dave Gooderham

AS a teenage checkout girl at her local supermarket star apprentice Michelle Dewberry knew she was destined for bigger things.

Fast forward 14 years and millions watched as the down-to-earth Miss Dewberry wowed multi millionaire businessman Sir Alan Sugar and became the second ever winner of The Apprentice in 2006.

Today, she passed on her support - and a few inside details of the hit BBC show - at the opening of a west Suffolk training company's new headquarters, as well as handing out crucial advice in how businesses can stay ahead in the present turbulent economic times.

But ask her to use her first-hand experience to predict this year's winner of the show as the contestants are whittled down to the last five and Miss Dewberry is stumped - as she has not watched a single episode of this year's show.

She told the EADT: “I believe very much in life experiences and that is why I went on The Apprentice. I never thought about winning it, I just wanted to do my best and see how far it took me.

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“It was a great experience and opportunity having a mentor like Sir Alan Sugar, who I have a lot of respect for. I think it was one of the best things I have achieved.

“I have been in New York for the last two months so I have actually missed every episode, but whoever wins, I wish them well.”

A year after winning the show, Miss Dewberry amicably left Sir Alan's stewardship to run her own outsourcing and consultancy firm. Her rise to business fame was detailed in her autobiography Anything is Possible.

She was guest of honour at the official opening of WS Training's plush new head office in Great Barton, near Bury St Edmunds.

The newly converted 13th century barn is thought to be one of the oldest buildings in Suffolk and houses the Eastern region's largest independent training provider.

Jane Vincent, chief executive of WS Training, said Miss Dewberry was the “perfect choice” to open the new building and said the company was proud of “our wonderful building and what we do”.

After turning her back on more traditional education at the age of 13, Miss Dewberry spoke of the importance of training in the current climate.

And remaining proud of her Hull roots, she said: “I want people to believe they can do anything, whether it be winning The Apprentice or playing in the Premiership for Hull City.

“There is a lot of belt tightening at the moment but you must believe in yourself, make cutbacks where necessary, and remember your end goal. I really do value training and continual growth - I think it is very important.

“I can remember working at Kwik Save when I was 15. I was dressed in this daft overall and I said to my mum I was going to change my life around and write a book to help others. My mum just laughed.”

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