The Apprentice: Meet the hopefuls aiming to impress Lord Sugar

Lord Sugar will return to TV screens next week, as The Apprentice returns on October 6.

Lord Sugar will return to TV screens next week, as The Apprentice returns on October 6.

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Lord Sugar will have to decide between 18 new candidates in the latest series of The Apprentice, which will return to screens next week.

This year's line-up of candidates include nine women and nine men between the ages of 24 and 38 and from a wide variety of business backgrounds.

The popular BBC One show returns for its 12th series on October 6, airing on Thursdays for the first time after previously being broadcast on Wednesdays.

The first episode will see the business newbies tackle a task testing their negotiation and selling skills.

Split into two teams, they will have to work together to pick out treasure from trash at a large lock-up containing antiques and collectables before selling them to the public.

Meet the apprentices

:: Alana Spencer

Age: 24

Occupation: Cake company owner

Lives: Ceredigion, Mid Wales

Key information: Spencer is the owner of a baking company and describes herself as determined, creative and charming. She started her first business - a chocolate company - at 17 before moving on to selling cakes.

Top quote: "I am incredibly hard-working, driven and I'll stop at nothing to get what I want."

:: Aleksandra King

Age: 38

Occupation: Business consultancy owner

Lives: London

Key information: Fluent in seven languages, King also describes herself as altruistic and extremely confident, while she also believes she has a gift for spotting a good business opportunity and can sell to anyone.

Top quote: "Like the Tasmanian devil in the famous cartoon, I will torpedo my way through to the win."

:: Courtney Wood

Age: 29

Occupation: Novelty gift company owner

Lives: Essex

Key information: Wood designs and creates novelty gifts which he supplies to national and international retailers and describes himself as fun with a positive attitude. He believes his confidence is one of his strongest attributes.

Top quote: "How would I describe myself in one sentence? I'll give you one word - awesome."

:: Dillon St Paul

Age: 37

Occupation: Art director for a fashion magazine

Lives: Dublin, Ireland

Key information: St Paul describes himself as talented, kind, very funny and super-creative. He intends to be "Machiavellian" about tasks and will tell white lies if he needs to.

Top quote: "Sometimes batting the eyelashes can get you a lot in business. Hence, the mascara comes in handy - so they can see those lashes."

:: Frances Bishop

Age: 25

Occupation: Children's clothing company owner

Lives: Doncaster

Key information: Bishop describes herself as talkative with a feisty personality, which she believes is what has got her so far in the business world. She wants to impress Lord Sugar with her strong, positive outlook.

Top quote: "I'm a pocket rocket. I'm quite fiery and live by the rule 'kill them with kindness'."

:: Grainne McCoy

Age: 31

Occupation: Make-up studio owner

Lives: Northern Ireland

Key information: With her make-up business, McCoy works throughout the country on projects from film sets to fashion shows. She says her hunger and passion push her to succeed and she puts maximum effort into everything she does.

Top quote: "I need guidance and a little bit of mentoring to help me make that first million."

:: JD O'Brien

Age: 37

Occupation: Beachwear company owner

Lives: London

Key information: O'Brien believes he can make the best of any situation while still being a "good bloke". He says he is going to put in the hard work and aims to make no mistakes along the way.

Top quote: "I won't suffer fools. I will get upset by other candidates who don't know their arse from their elbow."

:: Jessica Cunningham

Age: 29

Occupation: Online fashion entrepreneur

Lives: Derbyshire

Key information: Cunningham is the operations director for a PR and marketing agency as well as her online fashion business. She believes her positive, helpful attitude will propel her through tasks. She wants to get close to the other candidates to find out how they operate, analyse their strengths and weaknesses and attempt to use them to her advantage.

Top quote: "A motto I live by is: There is no competition if you're already winning."

:: Karthik Nagesan

Age: 33

Occupation: IT consultancy owner

Lives: Northamptonshire

Key information: Nagesan says his friends would describe him as a born leader who takes charge and blazes a trail. He cites his role model as Alexander the Great because he is a master strategist and a brilliant tactician.

Top quote: "If I wanted to be like everyone else, I'd have waxed my monobrow."

:: Michelle Niziol

Age: 35

Occupation: Property consultancy owner

Lives: Oxfordshire

Key information: Niziol founded and owns three companies in mortgages, property and lettings and describes herself as straight-talking, passionate and honest but admits that she can sometimes be bossy and impatient.

Top quote: "I work 15 to 17 hours every day. 100%, I'm a workaholic."

:: Mukai Noiri

Age: 36

Occupation: Digital marketing manager in fashion

Lives: London

Key information: Noiri has lived in six countries across three continents and recently gave up his position as a senior communications manager to focus on his business idea. He believes his charm is one of his strongest qualities but is also a straight-talker.

Top quote: "I feel sorry for Lord Sugar because previous applicants have been weak."

:: Natalie Hughes

Age: 30

Occupation: Hair and beauty salon owner

Lives: Glasgow

Key information: Hughes owns and runs two beauty and clothing businesses and considers her best quality to be her quick thinking, but she is also a persuasive talker who insists that nothing embarrasses her.

Top quote: "I started at a young age, I'm a hustler, I've got the hustler's ambition."

:: Oliver Nohl-Oser

Age: 33

Occupation: Food distribution business owner

Lives: Wiltshire

Key information: Nohl-Oser is the founder and director of a sausage manufacturer which supplies supermarkets both in the UK and internationally. He believes his greatest business skills lie in his marketing ability and his powers of persuasion.

Top quote: "Sometimes I feel like James Bond when I'm in my suit."

:: Paul Sullivan

Age: 38

Occupation: Marketing agency owner

Lives: Chigwell, Essex

Key information: Sullivan is the director and owner of a marketing company that specialises in finance, technology, construction and property. He is a self-proclaimed charmer but doesn't think he needs a unique selling point to win; consistency and sincerity will put him ahead, he says.

Top quote: "I'll play the team when I need to be part of the team, but I'm here to win; I'm not here to make up the numbers."

:: Rebecca Jeffery

Age: 31

Occupation: Design and marketing agency owner

Lives: Greater Manchester

Key information: Jeffery works as both the account manager and creative director for a marketing and design business. She prides herself on being relentless and possessing an infectious enthusiasm but admits that numbers and calculations are a weakness for her.

Top quote: "People often foolishly mistake my enthusiasm for silliness or positivity for naivety. I'm proof that you can get things done without whingeing."

:: Samuel Boateng

Age: 27

Occupation: Sales manager for a major car brand

Lives: London

Key information: Boateng is responsible for managing and generating new business for more than 700 businesses across London. He regards his ability in developing new and innovative ideas to be his strongest business skill, and says he has excellent public speaking abilities.

Top quote: "My creativity, my passion, my charm and my likeability all roll into one, creating one perfect guy."

:: Sofiane Khelfa

Age: 32

Occupation: Technology senior sales executive

Lives: Essex

Key information: Khelfa works in a high-end retail store, negotiating technology sales with high-profile clients and says he has the ability to adapt, deliver and build lasting relationships with people in business. He says his friends might call him over-zealous, but he believes when he gets down to business, his skills and personality will shine.

Top quote: "The best survivors in the world are the people who adapt, and I'm the best at adapting. I'm like a chameleon. I adapt to anything, anywhere, anytime."

:: Trishna Thakrar

Age: 28

Occupation: Recruitment agent in IT

Lives: London

Key information: A former semi-professional football player, Thakrar now works for a large IT company providing internal recruitment services. She says her friends would describe her as engaging and funny and believes her best business skill lies in her charm, but that her sensitivity could be her downfall as, if you cross her, she will not hold back.

Top quote: "My only tactic is to be myself; this alone will make sure I win."