YORKSHIRE teenager Ashleigh Porter-Exley has triumphed as the Young Apprentice after impressing show boss Lord Sugar with her “utter graft” and her skills as a would-be tycoon.
The 17-year-old, who dazzled the judges with her ethical streetwear brand, won out in the final head-to-head against A-level student Lucy Beauvallet.
Ashleigh is to use her £25,000 prize to either set up her own property management business or an accountancy firm.
Viewers of the BBC1 show have seen her take part in a series of challenges over the past eight weeks to test her business skills.
Ashleigh, from Swinton, South Yorkshire, is studying for an NVQ in business and administration as well as taking an evening course in accountancy.
The pair made it through to the final boardroom decision after their clothing initiative beat the other pair of finalists, and Lord Sugar said it was a tough choice.
He said: “Ashleigh, I’ve seen you take over tasks during the course of the last seven weeks and sometimes bring them through. I’ve seen you controlling what’s going on and it’s been a great privilege to have had you here in this process. The problem is that I’ve really got to think about where the £25,000 investment is going to be best spent. On that basis, it’s a very, very tough call, but what I’m going to say is, for sheer and utter graft – Ashleigh, you are the winner of this year’s Young Apprentice.”
Ashleigh said afterwards: “It’s the best experience I’ve ever had.”