My Week: Lee McQueen of Raw Talent Academy

The Apprentice winner on his new venture, that dinosaur impression, and being Lord Sugar's biggest fan.

by Hannah Prevett
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
The last few weeks have been very exciting. At the back end of last week, I signed a contract to become Harrow College’s business enterprise ambassador. So that meant I spent a couple of days going through the workshops I’m going to be running with students and staff in the next few terms. Public speaking is a bit like water off a duck’s back to me these days. I do a lot of it, so I’m well-rehearsed. It’s good to get a little bit nervous though, I think it keeps you on your toes.

It also ties in nicely with my new venture, the Raw Talent Academy  – which is all about giving young people either the opportunity, or even just the confidence, to be able to go on and get a job in the corporate world. I heard a stat this morning that one in five young people are unemployed. And with 80 graduates to every one job, people need to be unique and make themselves stand out from the crowd.

I spent quite a lot of time either working or thinking about work at the weekend. Because it’s my own business, I’m finding it really hard to switch off. My leisure time is generally all about football - I’m a massive Tottenham Hotspur fan, so I often go to watch Spurs. Also, it was mine and my wife’s first wedding anniversary this weekend so we made sure we spent lots of time together. Luckily she’s understanding about me always having my BlackBerry to hand. She’s probably even worse on her hers than I am, as she’s a workaholic as well.

This week has been a little bit more fun. It’s silly season so I’m doing a lot of schmoozing, including a very long, boozy lunch on Wednesday. It was also the penultimate episode of the Apprentice on that evening, so straight after the show I was on Five Live reviewing the show. This week was the interview stage, and let me tell you, they are hardcore. I remember the day we filmed the interviews very well. What the public don’t know is that interview stage takes place over a ten-hour day. You are constantly in and out, or waiting around, and you’ve got no idea what they’re going to ask you, so it’s impossible to prepare for.

Of course I’m famous for two things at the interview stage: firstly, for the pterodactyl impression, and secondly for lying on my CV. The dinosaur impression wasn’t as random as it seemed. I first did it when I was in the early interview stage before being accepted as one of the final 16. I was trying to do something to stand out, and think it’s one of the reasons I got on the show. Then through the entire show, the producers kept trying to get me to do it again – every single episode. They obviously thought it’d make good TV. Then in the interview stage, I walked into Paul Kelmsley’s office and he didn’t even say hello, just ‘I hear you do a really good impression of a dinosaur.’ He went on and on about it, until eventually I said sod it, and just did it.

Lying on my CV is a regret of mine. The thing is, society tells you that you have to go and be educated, go to university, and I didn’t. I left school and hadn’t got any qualifications, and had a bit of a complex about it. I tried to hide that complex by fibbing on my CV and saying I had a qualification that I didn’t. It turned out to be completely irrelevant in the end. Lord Sugar hired me based on the skills and abilities I demonstrated throughout the show. I proved to everyone you don’t need to have a sh*tload of qualifications to win the Apprentice.

Lee McQueen is the founder of Raw Talent Academy and winner of series four of the Apprentice.

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