Michelle secures €100,000 'Apprentice' dream job


A sales consultant from Peterborough in England is the latest winner of the TV3 reality series The Apprentice. Michelle Massey’s prize is a one-year €100,000 contract working for entrepreneur Bill Cullen.

Ms Massey (28) and Wexford marketing co-ordinator Niamh McDonald (23) saw off the 14 other contestants to reach last night’s finale.

Ms McDonald “has the passion of youthful exuberance” while Ms Massey “has the wisdom of experience, 10 years in e-commerce and she is a great sales person,” Mr Cullen said last night.

He said he hoped his new employee would help to boost his online business presence. “She is going to do e-commerce for us. We have all got to get up there now and realise that people are all going to the web for everything.”

Ms Massey left home aged 15 because her parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses. She moved to Ireland “spontaneously” 10 years ago with £300 after she met some people from Galway.

“Michelle showed she was a strong candidate right throughout,” Apprentice judge and Mr Cullen’s partner Jackie Lavin said last night. “She was a little bit weaker after the 10th task but pulled it together just in time.”

The winner of the third series said she did not know why she was picked. “They obviously saw something in me in the end.” She said it was “mortifying” to see the episode where she broke down in tears in the board room.

Ms Massey said she felt very lucky to have the job which she will start on January 3rd, “especially the way things are at the moment, it makes me want to work a bit harder”. Her goal is to get her one-year contract renewed.

Mr Cullen contended that despite the difficult economic times, the candidates were not as strong as in the past. “It isn’t getting any stronger and we need people who have the moxy,” he said.

“All of these candidates grew up during the Celtic Tiger and are spoiled. A few were fired, offered jobs and didn’t take them.”

Ms Lavin added: “They think that because they were on television something amazing will come out of the woodwork.”

Losing finalist Ms McDonald was unable to return to her old job when filming ended in August because the company went into liquidation. She has a contract job, a few offers and “will see” what happens next.

“I’m delighted I did it. I got further than I ever thought and learned you can be tough when you want to be,” she said.

The programme regularly attracted more than half a million viewers for TV3 and Mr Cullen said he expected the series to return next year, pending sponsorship.