'Apprentice' revved up for first day on job
Businessman Bill Cullen is renowned for his early starts. Most days he is at his desk by 5am.
Now his new 'Apprentice' Steve Rayner, winner of the TV programme, is enjoying them too.
On his first day at work this morning, Rayner met with his new boss at 6:30am at the car dealership he operates in Airside, Swords, Co Dublin.
"I have a meeting with Bill at 6.30 but I expect to be in well before that preparing. I'm hoping to get a head start before it even gets light out there," Rayner said.
The 30 year old said he was "excited" at the prospect of finally clocking in with Cullen, heading up a new initiative selling Renault cars for company corporate fleets, despite a slump in car sales.
"I'm not nervous because, as well as being a salesman, you can't go through a more thorough interview process than 'The Apprentice'. Renault are backing us with their own scrappage deal on top of what the Government is offering."
Rayner will have plenty of time to seal deals as he will be on his own in Dublin staying with a cousin, leaving fiancee Eibhlinn back in Skibbereen, Co Cork, with 11-month-old daughter Doireann and stepson Olan (8).
"Put it this way, I'm not coming to Dublin to increase my social circles. I'm hoping to move the family up here, but, in the meantime, I don't think I will have the opportunity to work this hard again. Hopefully I'll get home to Cork at weekends if work doesn't get in the way," he said.
By way of consolation is the €100,000 salary that goes with the job he won in the TV3 programme.
However, there is no doubt that Bill Cullen will be looking for his money's worth.
"Steve will be looking after the corporate end of the car business, which is something we haven't done before. I expect him to be selling a lot of cars," he told the Irish Independent.
The British-born reality-show winner's CV indicates he's up to the challenge. In his first Irish job working for Eircom, Rayner was promoted from sales to team leader to regional sales manager within seven months.