Peterborough’s Apprentice finalist Joseph Valente on Lord Sugar, fellow candidates, and not knowing if he’s won

Joseph Valente and Charleine Wain during a previous task on The Apprentice

Joseph Valente and Charleine Wain during a previous task on The Apprentice

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Peterborough’s finalist in The Apprentice faces a date with destiny as his six-month wait to find out if he is Lord Sugar’s next business partner comes to an end.

Joseph Valente filmed the final episode of the hit BBC One show in June this year and has been kept in the dark ever since on whether he has secured a £250,000 investment with Lord Sugar.

Joseph Valente. Picture: Jim Marks/Boundless/BBC/PA Wire

Joseph Valente. Picture: Jim Marks/Boundless/BBC/PA Wire

The Yaxley-born plumbing boss is in the final two of the series with the winner to be revealed tonight (Sunday, December 20) at 9pm.

But despite still not knowing on Thursday whether he had emerged victorious in the 12-week process, the 26-year-old owner of Peterborough firm Impra-Gas believes it is fate that he is chosen by Lord Sugar to work alongside him in the future.

Joseph said: “You don’t know if you’ve won but I’ll find out soon. It’s been tense, it’s hard to put it in the back of your mind. It’s like running a marathon, getting to the finishing line then not knowing if you came second or or first.

“It’s been brutal.

“I applied because I wanted to take my business to the next level and I thought The Apprentice would be a platform.

“Getting on was amazing and overwhelming but something felt natural about it. I felt it was my destiny to win.

“And everything about the process has just proved it to me that it’s my time and opportunity.”

Joseph has emerged as a strong candidate from the early episodes of the series and was only once brought back into the boardroom after losing a task.

His plans to expand his business have also been praised by Lord Sugar with the peer giving him the thumbs up during Wednesday night’s episode where all five remaining candidates were grilled in interviews.

But Joseph admits getting to the final of the contest has been a severe test of his physical, mental and emotional tolerance. He said: “It’s brutal, they push you to your limit and test your endurance.

“But it’s been amazing. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve met some great people and learned so much about business.

“Every task teaches you something different.”

The current series of the show has been noticeable for the animosity between candidates Charleine and Selina, with Joseph getting caught in the middle during one episode where he was project manager of the duo.

But he insists that he did his best not to engage with their feud, saying: “I’ve stayed clear of it all. I did not get involved.

“Everyone in there has a large ego. You all think you’re the best.

“I got on with the majority of people in the house. Gary and Charleine were two of my favourite people but Selina I did not get on with.”

And on Lord Sugar and his aides Karren Brady and Claude Littner, who both follow the teams around during the tasks, he said: “Lord Sugar is exactly how you see him on TV - a very strong individual that commands respect. When you speak to him you speak quickly and correctly.

“You give him the information then be quiet.

“They all have an aura around them and they should be respected because they have achieved a massive amount. But they are very genuinely nice people.”

Joseph admits not telling people how he has done in the show has been tough, albeit he describes himself as having a good poker face.

And although he said he cannot reveal when and in what circumstances he will find out if he is Lord Sugar’s next business partner, he believes he has given himself every opportunity to get the nod.

He added: “I think I’ve done amazing in the final. You present in front of 200 people at The Mayor of London’s office which is called The Onion. I gave it my all and it was fantastic.”