What has been the main thrust of your work since appearing on The Apprentice last year?
"Predominantly, besides from working for the law firm I was with for a period of three months, I have been doing a lot of speaking engagements. I do them for universities, blue chip companies and A Level/AS Level business students. Last week for instance I went to Aston Business School and gave a speech on the importance of entrepreneurship. They are only short speeches, but they are very fruitful, because people pay well for a known face. Last year they had 400 people attend and this year they tripled that, so they make a mint off that. I'm very hectic with that at the moment and it's turning out very well actually."
What sort of reaction do you get from the audiences?
"It's weird and it depends what age group the speech is for. I did a set of 12 speeches for A-Level business students, who were 60 per cent girls. The numbers in the audience varied from 500 to 2000. The bigger ones are like a concert and it's so unnerving. They are all screaming when I come on and then afterwards it's like a photocall."
Do you feel you came across well on The Apprentice?
"Throughout the series it was peaks and troughs. At the start of the show I was the golden boy sandwiched between Nicholas and Raef. But then I was portrayed as being conniving and having a strategy and went down in people's estimations. By the end I think the public viewed me as a Northern lad done good and I came off it well. It was a massive achievement and I'm grateful to have had that opportunity. Plus, I didn't come out of it looking like a plonker like certain other people did."
Who do you think was treated unfairly?
"The only thing I would say is that the public are 100 per cent a victim of the editing from the BBC. They can create the characters how they want to create them. I always get asked these questions and Kevin Shaw for example got a really bad edit. He is the nicest, most intelligent guy. His brain works so fast when he's thinking about business and he was badly edited throughout and portrayed in a bad light. But he's probably gone on to be one of the most successful contestants to be on the show."
What have you made of Raef's post-Apprentice career?
"I think he's come out of it and taken the media avenue. I mean he's a nice guy, but did you see that Celebrity Come Dine With Me? Just looking at his own family wealth, he doesn't need a 9 to 5 job. He's probably got a Ming vase in his apartment that's worth more than my house!"
Is Sir Alan Sugar as serious when the cameras are turned off?
"He is very serious because in some respects it's a very serious show. He doesn't want the younger audience to think that it's a game. He wants people to realise that if you concentrate and strive to achieve, you can go on to do good things. When the cameras are off though, he does smile. I've been out for dinner with him and he was a great laugh. He's not a dinosaur. He's alright, he's a nice guy."
You've become a women's magazine pinup. Did you expect that when you went on the show?
"Absolutely, 100 per cent not. My girlfriend read those magazines before I was on The Apprentice and I can't explain how weird the feeling is to appear on the front cover. I'm suddenly walking down supermarkets and realise, 'I'm in that magazine!' It's just like an added bonus. I'm up for some award with the DS Reality TV Awards, I think. Do you know who I'm up against?"
I think you're up against the Big Brother and X Factor boys for Sexiest Male!
"Happy days. Wicked! You'll have to send me through the details."
What would be your main advice for this year's Apprentice hopefuls?
"My strategy, if I actually had one, was just to be myself. The pressure and pace of the show means that if you put on a facade, you'll soon crack. Just be yourself and answer the questions truthfully, because Nick and Margaret see everything and stand up to Sir Alan Sugar if you don't agree with him. Otherwise he'll think you're wet and that's not at all what he's looking for."
What were Nick & Margaret really like? They stole the show on many occasions last year!
"I always parallel it to your relationship with teachers at school. At secondary school, you have no contact with them, but by sixth form you begin to speak to them more. By the time you reach the final Nick and Margaret start giving you one-to-one conversations. Margaret is a lovely lady and Nick is really good conversation. Nick is really down to earth and at the afterparty he was speaking to my younger brother. Nick and Margaret are both really cool."