Did you catch the Apprentice final on Sunday? If so, you'll already know that the winning candidate was Joseph Valente from Peterborough; he saw off fierce competition from runner-up Vana Koutsomitis to become the programme's eleventh winner, and the fifth to receive a £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar.

So what was Joseph's big idea? A plumbing business! Impra-Gas offer a range of plumbing and gas services to customers across the UK, and the company will no doubt benefit massively from the £250k cash injection (not to mention all the publicity!)

While both finalists would have made worthy winners, we must admit that it was somewhat heartening to see a gas/plumbing company triumph over Vana's more futuristic business proposal (an app called DatePlay that combines online dating with mobile gaming to find your perfect match). More impressive still is the story of Joseph Valente's success - here's how he told it in an interview with BBC News yesterday:

"I was expelled from school when I was around 15 and it looked pretty grim at the time. But I always knew I was going to be very, very successful...I created an opportunity in plumbing and I went to work with a local plumber for a year. He put me through college when I was 16...I owe a lot to the plumbing industry."

We at Access Training have helped countless people to earn their gas/plumbing qualifications and join the industry. Many of our students are people who have been working in offices for years and need a change of scenery, but we also help young people who find themselves in the same situation as Mr Valente: young people who have left school and aren't sure what to do next. University isn't the only option - in fact, it often isn't an option at all - and our courses allow those seeking an alternative route to learn a new trade from scratch and turn it into a lucrative career.

Joseph Valente's plumbing business was reportedly turning over £370,000 per year even before he appeared on The Apprentice. Figures like that aren't uncommon in the plumbing industry; this country is still pretty short on qualified tradespeople, and this skills gap often allows our students to make far more as plumbers and gas engineers than they ever would have made working at desks. If the Apprentice final has inspired you to learn a trade and start your own business, then please get in touch with Access Training today!

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