BY JACKIE KEOGH
FOURTEEN-year old Olan Crowley has no wish to become an apprentice but he has found himself surrounded by them.
In 2009, Olan’s stepdad, Steve Rayner, won TV3’s The Apprentice and this year Olan is glued to The Apprentice on BBC because his uncle, Richard Woods, has made it to the final five.
Steve Rayner is originally from the UK, but he has strong family connections with West Cork, which ultimately led him to make Skibbereen his home in 2005.
Steve began his career in Skibbereen working with Eircom, where he found his real talent – sales.
Having seen the first series – and spent much of that time shouting at the TV because the contestants seemed so infuriating – Steve applied for season two and the rest, as they say, is history.
Steve said The Apprentice was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him. ‘It allowed me to work for Bill Cullen – a man who has taught me a great deal about the business world,’ he said.
At the time the programme was aired, all of Skibbereen was riveted to the TV, including Olan, who was only eight.
‘It was exciting,’ Olan said about the TV programme that went out in weekly episodes, but he also admitted that his biggest fear was that Steve’s success would mean a move to Dublin and away from his friends in Skibbereen.
‘We still haven’t moved,’ said Olan, despite the fact that Steve commutes regularly to his new job as head of consumer and corporate finance at Joe Duffy Motors in Dublin.
All of the Crowleys are now following the progress being made by Richard Woods, who is married to Cara Bain from Union Hall – granddaughter of the late John Leonard who was recently featured in the pages of The Southern Star.
Steve said: ‘Richard is an incredibly outgoing and confident young man who has the potential to win. He comes across exactly how he is in real life, which is great.
‘Win, lose, or draw, I hope that Richard has the same success off the back of the show that I have enjoyed. My hope, of course, is that he will win so that Olan can lay claim to knowing two winners of the programme – which would be bizarre, given how difficult it is to get a place on the show.’