With the TV show proving to be hugely popular over the years, it’s not surprising that our clients love to take part in their very own version of the show. So when a brand new client in the banking industry approached us wanting to host an Apprentice Style Team Building Event, we knew that they had come to the right place!

We first designed our Team Apprentice for a management training course for John Lewis, this was many years ago and the event has evolved and continually developed ever since. We gave our client the option of making it pure fun or giving it a very business focused direction. They chose mainly the fun direction as they wanted to improve communication and help people to get to know each other better.

Marketing & Promotion

Apprentice Style Team Building Event That Motivates

We arrived on the day and set up the room in anticipation of the delegates arrival, our team hid out of sight and the delegates took their seats…then BOOM the apprentice music was cranked up high, the door was flung open and in walked Lord Alan Sugar Rush with his team of eagle eyed advisors, Nick and Karens! The delegates jaws hit the floor as they wondered what on earth was in store for them!

In our Apprentice style events, we make sure that it’s a very positive environment, the delegates always work in teams and no team is fired but one team is hired – this is always a positive experience. With the tasks explained the teams threw themselves into ensuring that they were going to be the team that Lord Alan was going to hire.

Team Takeaway

Team names were chosen and Apprentice tasks such as corporate branding, marketing and promotion and a product prototype was hilariously made along with a fit for TV advert. We have to be honest and say that the boardroom sessions were superb, the whole room was enthralled, there was so much laughter and interaction and we’ve never seen a more enthusiastic presentation of the corporate branding!

After the final boardroom session Lord Alan, Nick and Karen’s conferred and announced the winning team – who revelled in their glory as they were hired!

The feedback from the client was superb, they said:

‘It was a fantastic day. The team were really engaed and had a lot of fun. It was great from a team building perspective – a great way for people to get to know each other better.’

Buying & Negotiating

If you are looking to host an Apprentice style team building event and want to make sure it’s a huge success – then look no further, we are the experts! We’ve even just launched our very own Charity Apprentice event, so your company can do real good for the community whilst building their team.

Does Daniel have a Doppelganger?

We’re not sure what we found funnier in the latest episode of The Apprentice – Solomon carefully carrying the skeleton across a busy road then allowing it sit on his knee in the car, or Lord Sugar’s face when he saw Tenacity’s paper version which to make matters worse, was still in the box! And why can’t Solomon say the word “anatomical?” It’s not so difficult we think.

Daniel’s dramatic transformation

The biggest turn up for the books on Wednesday had to be the charisma transplant Daniel had been for during the past week. Instead of someone who routinely noised up every individual in his team, here was a team leader who considered the opinions of others, handed out praise when deserved and proved inspiring throughout the task (which was to collect nine items at the cheapest prices using £1000, business directories and a map of London).

Arch enemy Mark even praised Daniel’s team leader skills in the boardroom when he told Lord Sugar: “He’s turned over a new leaf, he’s willing to listen and is far more positive.”

Katie said she believed Tenacity were getting results because they were “finally working together as a team.” Ah sweet.

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Felipe fails to impress

Until that is – that very four found themselves the team under threat in the boardroom. Then the praise turned to recrimination with lawyer Felipe getting it in the neck from all team members. His crime? To “think out the box” as he put it. What that means is he tried to pull one on Lord Sugar by ordering a paper skeleton rather than the real thing on the basis that Lord Sugar hadn’t specified “a real skeleton.” Hmm.

On learning it was the skeleton that cost Tenacity the team Katie told Felipe she’d “never been so angry in her life.” Just what kind of uneventful existence has she had up there in Sunderland all this time?

Other highlight’s of episode nine was Roisin’s brilliant bagging of a diamond for the fabulous knock-down price of £50. Admittedly there was a lot of eyelash fluttering and smiling involved. But don’t knock it – it worked!

Katie and Mark in Tenacity also pulled a blinder when they managed to buy a vial of oil for more than half the cost that Summit did. The reason? They bought it from the internet whereas Sanjay turned up at a posh shop. Meanwhile Daniel used his Jewish background to nab a 30% discount on a kosher chicken (whereas Sanjay, in a fit of stupidity, admitted he didn’t even know what this was).

And so to the board room execution. Make no bones about it, the skeleton did it for Felipe. Lord Sugar told him in no uncertain terms that fetching a paper skeleton had secured his departure.

On learning this bit of news, Daniel – who had been making his fourth appearance in the board room – breathed a huge sigh of relief while his right ear twitched uncontrollably. So convinced were the others that Daniel was in the firing line that when he appeared in the house he was greeted with a baffled silence. The contest continues…

Meanwhile, here at Accolade Events we have the skills and expertise to help you set up your own company’s Apprentice team building event. Read here for more information on this fun team building activity.

And it’s Goodbye from James…

At last! Lord Sugar Lump finally saw sense last night (actually he couldn’t have missed it) and fired James. Hooray. How we cheered.

LS really couldn’t have done anything else but get rid of James – such was the wide-boy’s litany of mistakes, coupled with the derision that broke out in the board room after his lying was revealed.

James and his apprentice ambitions judder to a halt

The mistake we’re referring to was, of course, when James referred to the hot tub seller as Derek, rather than his actual name of Anthony. And not just once either – but several times. Understandably, concerned about James’ lack of attention to detail, Anthony gave the contract to Tenacity instead.

This left James unaccountably lying to his team about how he’d actually preferred the ride-on lawnmowers instead. And when Roisin pointed out that telling fibs wasn’t actually a very good idea James swiftly and, rather patronisingly, put her in her place by telling her: “I will do what I want to do.”

And that ladies and gents was the problem. James did exactly what he fancied, starting from when he chose to ignore the others advice about what products to take to the Show. In fact, he didn’t just ignore them but opted for the opposite of what they suggested. How to make a team valued, eh?

In exasperation – and under the spotlight in the boardroom – the normally cool-headed accountant Roisin lost her rag (a little) and told James he was “patronizing, demeaning and difficult to work with.” Oh yes, and that he was also “on a complete ego trip.” The deluded boy retaliated by informing her that, on the contrary, he was “not afraid to make a decision or lead and which are the habits of a good businessman.” Give us strength…or better still, a G&T.

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Dastardly Daniel as Mr Punch

Meanwhile Daniel was doing his best to noise up his team mates too. His bad behaviour involved a massive sulk when it emerged he wouldn’t get to sell the hot tubs but smoothie Mark would instead “on behalf of the whole team” (not just himself then?).

The result was what appeared to be a bit of a ‘Punch and Judy’ show where Daniel chased poor Felipe from one side of Tenacity’s stall to the other moaning and arguing with him at every available opportunity (and even at opportunities that weren’t available). The result was the team’s stall did attract an audience – but for all the wrong reasons.

Meanwhile, as we predicted in previous weeks, Daniel and Mark did put on boxing gloves last night. Unfortunately they weren’t taking punches out of each other; rather it was their treat for winning the task. At the moment they’re still sticking to verbal sparring but we reckon there’s a chance things will escalate as the number of chairs available in the boardroom for candidates slowly dwindles.

Tell us, are tempers just becoming frayed in week eight or are the individual personalities starting to come loose because it’s too tiring to pretend to be perfect any longer? Whatever. We’re loving it and can’t wait to see more unravelling as the weeks go on.

Fancy setting up your own Apprentice team event? Then get in touch with us here at Accolade Events. We’d really love to help out!

Lawyer Lauren Bites off More Than She Can Chew In the Big Apple

It was difficult to tell who had the biggest grin on their face when sneaky old Lord Sugar last night told his would-be millionaire Apprentices that they were on their way to the Big Apple – or at least half of them were. But as stoney-faced Karen Brady sarcastically announced later: “Let’s be honest, there was no way James wasn’t going.”

Actually Karen had quite a bit to say in last night’s episode. Take for instance, her uncharacteristic praise of Summit team leader Bianca when she announced in the board room that her US pitch came across as “very engaging” and “with great personality.” Praise indeed!

Distilling the ‘Piers Morgan of Drinks’

From Lord Sugar praise – or rather criticism – was replaced by puns (lots of them). Some of his best were when he described Summit’s energy drink as “less Big Dawg and more Chihuahua,” or his comparison of Tenacity’s dreadful product (which bombed in the US) as “the Piers Morgan of drinks” before adding: “Yes, it really was that bad.”

The rather challenging task on episode seven was to come up with a soft drink and advertising campaign over a period of four days, and which would then be pitched to the great and good of New York City (the 30-strong audience consisting of representatives from Britvik and some of the trendiest branding agencies in the world). So it was pretty amazing that Bianco was so cool and confident in her pitch. Could she be a late contender for the final?

And talking of potential finalists, Riosin played another blinder last night. She and moaning-face Sanjay came up with the branding and billboard design for Big Dawg in London. At the same time, her colleagues James and Solomon had the ‘difficult’ task of auditioning gorgeous young aspiring actresses in New York. We’ve no idea how Bianca managed to keep smiling throughout. She must have just tuned out and started reciting to herself the winning Apprentice’s mantra “£250,000, £250,000, £250,000.”

Mark’s impressive management skills

Mark, who project-managed Tenacity last night was a pretty good team leader, we thought. And so did Nick who happened to pipe up exactly that point in the board room to Lord S. Mark excelled in his willingness to give others responsibility and assure them he had faith in them to do the job. He also showed he trusted them to get on with it by not interfering too much. Well, until it came to Felipe that is. The lawyer’s ambition to be the next Tarantino saw him getting a tad “over-excited” and losing his rag during filming of the advert. In fact, he was pretty much all over the place last night, even shedding a tear on viewing the Tenacity billboard in Times Square. Awwww. Here’s hoping it’s not the pre-curser to a breakdown. Maybe the adrenalin thrill of getting out the office and not having to read legalese all day is getting a bit too much for him?

And it’s goodbye from Lauren

The only other lawyer – Lauren – also had a tough time last night. So much so that she was fired. Her problem wasn’t getting ‘overly-involved’ but rather overwhelmingly “under-involved.” Mark was sure to tell LS over and over again that Lauren had contributed nothing to their team’s effort and in doing so ensured it was her name the taxi driver asked for when he entered reception.

And so James survives another week. But then so does Daniel, Solomon and Sanjay.

Find out about how to host your own Apprentice event with our fun team building exercises here at Accolade Events. How will your employees react under such pressure? Freak out like Felipe or display the management mastery of Mark?

The Apprentice: A forerunner to Fisticuffs?

Sparks were certainly flying on the Apprentice last night – and it wasn’t anything to do with the fire that Lord Sugar believes market trader Daniel has in his belly.

Fall out number one

It all came to a head between Summit project leader James and cool Bianca when the male motor mouth accused her of being “too big for her boots.” We’d already received an inkling of what was to come when, in an aside to camera, he announced that he would “soon put her in her place.” During their argument James reminded Bianca he was project leader and refused to listen to anything she had to say. So she talked over him. Children, children…

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Fall out number two

The other big fall-out last night – and one we can’t wait to see come to a head in a forthcoming episode – is between Daniel and suave Aussie Mark. Daniel took a few deriding swipes at Mark’s constant football analogies while back at the team house Mark had a good old bitch about Daniel in his absence. Don’t know about you but we think there’s just something too smooth and goody two shoes about Mark. Could he be a secret sociopath?

Party’s over for Pamela

The Queen Bitch of last night’s episode though was Pamela – who was rightly fired. She constantly grumbled about half her team’s failures to sell and managed to ostracise them completely. Actually we were pretty surprised they did manage to offload the board game to anyone considering the crap product they were landed with. This was one, incidentally, that Pamela had given the go-ahead for.  Not only that but she refused to accept an iota of blame for its failure – despite being the one making all the executive decisions. And boy were those decisions wrong.

In our opinion her biggest mistake was completely dissing the market research. She didn’t seem to bat an eyelid when the adult male board gamers announced Tenacity’s dating game was sexist, boring and even offensive to women. One participant said that were it to be brought out at a party he’d go home! Red flag anyone?

Lord Sugar needs sweetening

But the best fun was to be found in the board room. Lord Sugar Lump is getting tough and taking no prisoners. Daniel was told he was a “fantasist” and a “loose cannon.” For Mark “the jury was out” on his abilities to lead a team and poor Lauren was told in no uncertain terms that if she doesn’t stop “playing the game” then there wouldn’t be a game for her to play anymore. Lauren’s tension in the boardroom was almost audible while Daniel’s left ear twitched of its own accord on a few occasions.

Surprisingly, even though he was named “a dictator” by Bianca, James came off well last night, leading Summit to a superb victory. Lord Sugar only had to tell him off once for gabbing but he did so beautifully, announcing that it was a shame James hadn’t chosen Charades as his game for then no-one would have to listen to him.

So who’s your favourite to win? We’re still backing ‘sensible’ Roisin this week.

Like us to set up a team building version of The Apprentice in your company? Then take a look at our website Accolade events today and get started. We promise it’ll never be boring in the board room once our eagle eyed advisors get onsite.

 

Tears, Tours and Tantrums: Last Night’s Apprentice Angst

Last night’s episode of the Apprentice was a lesson in knowing when to keep your gob shut. And the two who failed miserably on this particular score were Tenacity project leader Dan (despite bragging he was an expert in corporate events) and surprise, surprise James. Interestingly both are from the school of market trading (a sector of sales which has never been comfortable with that particular edict).

Dan failed miserably in this lesson because even when his entire team turned against him and accused him of failing to organise or lead them – and indeed failing to make any ticket sales at all – he insisted he’d done nothing wrong and that Tenacity had won the task anyhow.  Talk about taking nothing on board.

James’s failure was his usual selling stuff as cheap as chips (asking for an 80 per cent discount at posh Hever Castle was a big ‘no-no’ for starters). Worse still though was his singing – and, god forbid, his insistence that the guests on his high class bus tour should join him in a chorus of ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ and ‘ One Man Went to Mo.’ We here at Accolade Events cringed along with Karen at the time whom we bet wished she could get off at the next stop. And we’re certain she wasn’t the only one who felt the same way. Personally we wondered why no-one chucked him off the bus when they had the chance.

Which brings us to our next point. How come James didn’t get fired? Sure Jemma was the worst tour guide we’ve seen this side of Disney. She had to constantly refer to her notes and at one point took pains to mention Anne Boleyn’s marriage chest, telling the guests that it was worth seeing “if you can find it.” Then there was her classic line that Anne and Henry had “grown apart.” See, that’s what happens when you play truant during school History lessons Sometimes those missed lectures really do come back to bite you on the bum in adult life.

Dan was certainly a poor project leader tonight – to the extent that everyone in his team looked for guidance from handsome and competent Aussie Mark instead. And if Tenacity had been brought back into the boardroom last night we feel certain it would have been Dan who’d have been rolling his wee suitcase towards the waiting taxi instead.

But former bank manager Sanjay never did himself any favours either as leader of Summit. Not only did he fail to cost the project properly, but he seemed to be more of a sidekick to James than the man in charge. But then that was probably due to the fact that no-one can get a word in when James is around anyway. And despite the latter’s efforts to the contrary he really isn’t funny, amusing or entertaining. We just wish someone would sit him down and tell him. Admittedly some of the others such as smart Irish accountant Roisin are beginning to – but will it ever get through? Unfortunately we seriously doubt it.

And so it was blonde dancer Jemma who had to bid farewell to her baying housemates tonight – or would have had she got the chance. Happily she now has plenty of time to go and get some decent make-up advice. Take a tip from us – natural is nicer Jem!

Looking to host a Corporate Event? Find out how you and your colleagues can get involved in your own Apprentice-style event at our website www.accoladeevents.co.uk

 

Summit Take Their First Win – As Three Taxis Are Called For Tenacity

We just loved the shock ending in the Apprentice last night. That’s the part where Lord Sugar Lump (LSL) fired not one, not two, but ALL THREE of the ‘naughty apprentices’ brought back into the room to get a dressing down. And we must say we weren’t sorry to see any of them go. Well, maybe Sarah because we feel the other girls had been picking on her in recent weeks (due, they claim, to Sarah’s sales ‘technique’ of wearing high heels and short skirts). Even LSL asked her last night why no-one ever listened to her.

No-one ever listened to Steven either. But that’s because the US evictee took so long to get to the point that everyone ran out of patience and found it easier just to ignore him. Or, as Ella Jade described her team member’s style: “rambling, theatrical and over the top.” So that was Steven told. Ella Jade meanwhile, the third apprentice to go, definitely had an over-bearing manner. Also bit too posh for her own good, LSL hinted, adding that she was someone he suspected that had never done a day’s work outside the family business.

But getting to the team work (our favourite part), we thought Summit performed brilliantly as a group last night. And the credit for that goes to team leader and digital marketing guru Solomon. He managed to both enthuse and motivate the bunch to the extent that they actually looked as if they were enjoying the challenge. In fact there were lots of (team) laughs when it came to creating their cookery video Dare to Dine. Loudmouth James played off Rhiannon as the clown in a skit which involved flying rubber chickens and face flannelling (the cake not the cloth variety). And that was all very well – had it been aimed at 8 to 10 year-olds rather than 18 to 30-year-olds – explained executives from digital entertainment channel Buzzfeed. The professionals then took the smile of the team’s collective faces when they refused to show Dare to Dine.

Tenancity too were knocked back by the digital experts who found their fitness video Fat Daddy Fitness Hell a tad cruel. This was despite being reassured by Steven during his pitch that they’d find it so funny they would “rolling around on the floor.” Hmm… the only thing rolling around on the floor was an imaginary tumbleweed or two. Meanwhile,  poor Columbian lawyer Felipe was given the starring role of Fat Daddy and we reckon probably lost around half a stone over two days in the making of the video. Still at least he got to sleep in the house another night – in fact we bet he went out like a light the minute his head hit the pillow thanks to all that running through fields that he had to do. Unfortunately for Felipe he’s now going to be known as Fat Dad for the rest of his life – unless, of course, he wins The Apprentice and in which case he’ll simply be known as ‘Millionaire Dad.’

Fancy getting staff from your company to take part in your own Apprentice Show? Then why not give us a call here at Accolade Corporate Events? We’d be happy to chat over our Apprentice team building event or you could take a look at our website here.

 

 

Outdoor teambuilding

Motivation is an important element for any business. If a team isn’t motivated, then they will just plod along doing the bare minimum and clock watch until it’s time to go home. Ultimately, unmotivated people will be unhappy in their work and be much more likely to leave.

Conversely a motivated team go above and beyond their job description. They want to succeed and strive to be the best they can. They enjoy their jobs immensely and have great pride in what they do. However, all teams could use a little help from time to time to improve motivation. Whilst individuals may well be motivated, often team motivation needs a helping hand. Ideas for team building which focus on team spirit and working together towards a shared goal will help to motivate any team.

The best types of team building events for motivation should be enjoyable and fun. Importantly, they should be something that everyone in the team will be capable of and whilst challenged, not be so far out of their comfort zone that they participate in under duress.

Team Apprentice

Business-related team building events such as Team Apprentice or Investors Den help teams to hone vital work related skills as well as pull together to achieve the set task.

Motivational ideas for team building

Investors Den

Treasure hunts are fun and fast paced and require all team members to put their all into the event to be the winning team.

However, ideas for team building to improve motivation don’t need to be business related. Sometimes a little frivolity and silliness is just the ticket to get everyone motivated and increase team spirits. Our range of inflatable outdoor team building events offer a chance for everyone to get outside, race around like loons and embrace their inner child – perfect for raising motivation!

Outdoor teambuilding activity

If you’d like to talk to us to hear more ideas for team building with your group then call 0800 083 or fill in our contact form and we’ll call you straight back!

When it comes to team building activities that focus on selling, we emphasis that it isn’t just the end product you need to be able to sell, but also the team behind the product.  With this in mind, we’ve come up with our top three sales team building activities that will help to inspire confidence and creative thinking, as well as encouraging team spirit and working together to win the sale.

Team Apprentice Manufacturing Task

Can your team find a niche in the market and, more importantly, get people to buy it? Testing all the vital business skills, this sales team building activity will need everyone to pull their weight and bring their A-game if they are to succeed and outsell the other teams.

Cereals Wars

Will your team of people be able to put Mr Kelloggs and Mr Quakers on the back heel?  Marketing a brand new cereal, your team will be challenged on creative thinking, communication, presentation skills and of course, selling.  Coming up with new, ingenious ideas is the name of the game, as well as creating a delicious new breakfast.

Investors Den

Selling not just your product, but your whole company – that is what’s required if you want to succeed in the Investors Den.  Pitching their idea in front of genuine industry experts and venture capitalists, your team will need to ensure they have all their facts and figures on point and everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.

Your team will need to master selling, communication, presenting and the ability to think on your feet if they want to impress and get the backing they want.

Leadership activities are great for uncovering a wealth of hidden talent in your team, as well as helping teams to galvanise and increase confidence and motivation in individuals.

Team building events that have leadership activities included are challenging and testing, but are conducted in a fun and informal manner so that nobody feels any pressure or anxiety.

When compiling your teams to attend a team building event, it is often best to mix up the team so different management levels are represented.  It is an opportunity for those who usually lead to sit back and allow others to take the reigns (while working on their own listening skills) and show what they can achieve.

Leadership activities rely on vital workplace skills such as communication, time management, decision making, and the ability to bring the whole team together to pull in the same direction.


Someone with good leadership skills will inspire and spur on their team, whilst showing themselves to be a good example of how to conduct themselves in business. They inspire trust and confidence, which means that people will enjoy working with them and want to succeed for them.

Team building events that are problem solving based are the best for leadership activities.  They allow people to delegate roles within the event, but to accept overall responsibility for the completion of the task.   Becoming the project manager in one of our Team Apprentice team building events means that you need to oversee all aspects of the task.

Leadership activities are designed to bring out the very best in your team and encourage them to build on what they have learnt when back in the workplace.

The final episode of this year’s The Apprentice was finally upon.  Lord Sugar had to choose between two very strong women in Leah Totton and Luisa Zissman, and ultimately decide which business idea would net him the most money.  Would Botox clinics win over baking accessories?

Luisa and Leah had much in common in reaching the final; glamorous women who were both very strong-willed and decisive throughout the entire show, but with good business ideas backed by in-depth knowledge of the area of expertise they wanted to work in.  However, their personal journeys through the process were very different.  Luisa started out by being manipulative and Machiavellian, whereas Leah was quieter.  Luisa proved to be a better leader of people than she was a team player, in contrast Leah’s time as project manager showed her inexperience in business.

The program started with the two ladies ringing around ex-candidates in the hope they could secure themselves the best team.  Leah managed to persuade Alex, Francesca, Myles and Uzma to join her in her final venture, while Luisa was the first to call Neil she was disappointed that she didn’t manage to get all the people she wanted and begrudgingly invited Jason, Zee and Natalie to be on her team.

If the episode had been a team building exercise it would certainly have thrown up some of both of the women’s character flaws.  Neither showed particularly good listening skills—something essential for the success of any business, and both could do with working on their leadership skills as they came across as snappy, blunt and uncompromising, and in Leah’s case, often rather rude.

However, one could forgive them their faults as it was undoubtedly a very high pressure environment and they were working against the clock.

Both ladies had very clear ideas about how they wanted to brand their businesses, but paid very little attention to their team members or feedback from the general public.  This stubbornness also ran over into the making of their videos, although Luisa seemed more relaxed and able to let others take some of the creative strain compared to her competitor.

Luisa’s ‘Baking Tool Kit’ was an online wholesale business selling all the ingredients and tools required for professional bakers.  However, the branding led itself more towards the home consumer with the overuse of pink and the caricature of herself on the products.

Leah’s wanted a very clinical and clean brand for her cosmetic enhancement clinics, and came up with the name ‘Niks’—a play on the word ‘skin’.  She stuck to her guns about the brand despite people telling her it looked boring and the word ‘niks’ conjured up images of being cut.  Leah did however bow to opinion and made a slight concession, she decided that she would keep ‘Niks’, but refer to it as N.I.K.S. medical instead.

When it came to the launch of their businesses—which involved a pitch and the play of their corporate video to 100 assembled experts from the cosmetic and baking world—both ladies delivered good presentations.  Luisa faltered slightly at the beginning with nerves but recovered well and both were challenged by difficult questions from the floor.

With nothing much between the ladies’ performances, it was down to whether Lord Sugar thought he would be best investing in Botox or cupcakes and in the end he was swayed by the bigger margins promised by Leah’s enterprise.

Unsure as to whether the decision may come back to haunt him, he declared Doctor Leah Totton this year’s Apprentice and we can all look forward to a Botox clinic coming to a high street near us very shortly!

Did Lord Sugar hire the right candidate?  How would your teams fare on one of our Team Apprentice team building events?

Last night’s episode of The Apprentice was the much anticipated interview round.  The usual interviewees were in attendance: Margaret Mountford, Claude Littner and Mike Soutar with newby Claudine Collins making up the numbers.

This episode is always fun, not only because of the squirm inducing interviews the candidates have to go through, but because of the ineptness displayed, in fact this episode should be called the ‘what not to do in an interview’ or ‘what not to write on your CV’, because any little misdemeanor is discovered, devoured and spat out.

Gems this year include Francesca admitting that she plucked the £5 million turnover figure in her business plan out of the air, Leah pointing out all the cosmetic surgery Mike Soutar needs doing and then saying that she was only in the process because she ‘needs the money’, and Luisa calling her old boss ‘an idiot’.

Margaret gave, as usual, great eyebrows, particularly when Luisa (rather cleverly I thought) sniped back that you needed a personality in business, Francesca admitting the most interesting fact about herself was her shoe collection, and Jordan was questioned as to why he said David Beckham was his business role model.

The gang didn’t fare too well with newcomer Claudine Collins, who wanted to suss out how media worthy they were.  She quickly established that Francesca wasn’t really boring because she said so and that Jordan considers himself more intelligent than anyone else and that his only business he has conducted was selling stuff on ebay.

Overall I thought this year the candidates were treated quite kindly in the interviews, in fact despite the fact that all the interviewers hated Neil’s business plan, you could tell they quite liked him as a person.  Luisa composed herself very well in the interviews and was even complimented by Claude and Mike on her business success.

But of course, the episode wouldn’t be complete with one of the candidates being visibly chewed up and spat out as a disheveled version of their former selves—step forward Jordan.  First he was put on the spot by Mike to live up to his claim that he could complete a Rubik’s cube in under 3 minutes, which he failed to do.  He was then banished from his interview with Claude when he discovered that not only was the business idea he was floating to Lord Sugar already established, he didn’t actually own any part of it.  If Jordan needed any more nails in his coffin, the fact that he was only willing to part with 15.39% of the equity with Lord Sugar slammed down the lid and threw the dirt on top.

Unsurprisingly, back in the boardroom Jordan was very swiftly dispatched from the process.  More surprising was Neil’s firing; despite both the interviewers and Lord Sugar trying to get him to come up with a contingency plan to his flawed online estate agency idea, he clung desperately onto his beliefs and this cost him dearly.

With just the three girls left in the process, it was a no-brainer that Francesca would be the next person to hitch a ride home in a taxi.  Her lack of business nous along with her made-up figures made sure that she wasn’t a serious contender for Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment which left Leah and her cosmetic surgery clinics and Luisa’s baking business to fight it out in the final.

How would your people shine in one of our Team Apprentice team building events?

Week 10 of The Apprentice and another candidate has to bite the dust.  This week the candidates have to ‘grow a business’.  Each team is given £150 to buy stock with to sell at Spitalfields Market in East London, they need to ‘smell what sells’ in order to restock quickly and make more money.  The second day of the task they have to move from their market stall to a shop, the team with the most assets at the end of day 2 is the winner.

Lord Sugar decides to go back to the start and pits the boys against the girls for the challenge. Myles and Jordan put themselves forwards as project manager and it’s up to Neil to have the casting vote.  He concludes that smooth-talking, Monaco-living Myles is better suited to flogging stuff on a market stall than Jordan.  Over in the girls’ team both Leah and Luisa put themselves forward for the main role and Francesca decides that Luisa is the woman for job given her retail experience.

Straight away the girls get down to business and decide they want to sell fashion items on their market stall, in particular low cost items such as hats and leggings.  Luisa seems to be leading her team well and for once the girls appear to be getting on very well, all agreeing on the direction and strategy of the task.  Luisa sends Francesca off to do some market research on markets while she and Leah go to buy stock.

Myles’ team has less direction and the boys spend a long time deciding what to sell, in fact they almost have to be pushed into making a decision by Karren as the clock ticks away.  They reluctantly decide on homeware for their store and look to seek out relatively high value items to sell.  Chancing upon a bespoke ceramic maker they buy a few over-priced butter dishes, ceramic note pads and ceramic rubber gloves.  In all they purchase 16 items for their market stall, let’s hope it’s a small stall!

The girls’ hats and leggings stall appears to be doing a brisk trade, the same cannot be said for the sparsely laid out ceramic stall.  Whilst Neil and Myles struggle to get anyone to look at their goods, Jordan goes in search of some cheaper items to sell and comes back with greeting cards.   With dismal sales, the team decide that Jordan should take the greetings cards and try to off-load them as wholesale to another stall or shop, he manages to raise £25 doing this, although it takes him about 4 hours to do so.

Day 2 arrives and the teams swap the market for a pop-up mall in Shoreditch.  Each team has an empty shop (or converted shipping container) to fill with stock to sell to the unsuspecting public.  Although in Myles’ case, filling the shop or even a shelf with stock is proving to be a tricky business so he comes up with a master plan of abandoning the shop and using an old mirror as a stall at the entrance of the shop.

The girls decide they need some higher prices items to sell in their nicely stocked and decorated shop, so dispatch Francesca to buy some dresses.  She comes back with some nice tea dresses which the girls hope to sell for £65.

Jordan is again sent off to find some more cheap items to sell and at 1pm comes back to the stall with some candles.  Meanwhile, somehow, Neil manages to get people to part with real money for their ceramic nick-nacks.

The girls’ shop is busy, but no-one seems interested in the dresses so it’s back to the wholesalers for more hats.  Myles and Neil ponder over whether to blow their money on a single high-end item to sell, after much umming and ahhing Myles finally takes the decision to send Jordan back to the ceramic maker to find something they can sell for a high price.   Jordan typically takes ages on his mission and then comes back with a unique looking vase (so unique it doesn’t actually resemble a vase in any shape or form) that they hope to flog for £190.  Not unsurprisingly, Myles and Neil immediately wash their hands of the product once they see it and instruct Jordan to try and peddle it in nearby shops.

Back in the boardroom and Lord Sugar is finding it difficult to come up with any terrible to say about the girls, and with good reason as they easily win the task by around £300.  The boys argue about whether Myles or Jordan is to blame for their fiasco and are sent to the café to lick their wounds.

With all three boys in the boardroom Lord Sugar takes the opportunity to find out a little bit about their business propositions.  Neil wants to set up an on-line estate agents, Myles want to set up an on-line luxury marketing company and controversially,  Jordan wants to set up a business with a third person involved—something that Lord Sugar instantly dislikes and we get to watch Jordan squirm so badly he almost vomits.

However, Jordan is let off the hook—one imagines because the interviews next week will get to the bottom of this three man business—and Myles is sent back to Monaco.  It’s a hard life for some!

How would your people fare in a Team Apprentice team building event ?  Could they grow a successful business from scratch?  Will they be able to hone their leadership and decision making skills like Luisa, or find themselves floundering like Myles?

Week 9 of The Apprentice was all about creating a new ready meal, and for one unlucky candidate it certainly left a bad taste in their mouth.

This week sees Lord Sugar get everyone up at the crack of dawn to meet him at the Gherkin.   The task this week is to design and create a new ready meal.  Alex is put out of his misery early and doesn’t have to suffer another week of being overlooked for the Project Manager’s role as Lord Sugar demands that he takes the helm for Team Endeavour.  Team Evolve are left to their own devices and although Francesca fancies herself in the position, Luisa (who else?) decides that Neil should be the Project Manager.

Alex and Myles look after the branding side of business for Team Endeavour, and Alex has to be reined in several times by Myles as he jumps from one crazy idea to the next without first establishing their target market.  They eventually decide on children’s ready meals.

From the off, Neil decides the direction they need to go in is fusion and quickly dreams up two cuisines that should never, ever meet – there is a good reason that some countries are so far apart from each, you know, just in case you ever end up accidentally eating some Thai noodles with Caribbean chicken.  Both the women declare themselves unable to cook,  which is particularly surprising given that Luisa owns a cupcake business, but again Luisa manipulates her way into the branding team with Neil while hapless, really can’t cook, Francesca is sent packing out of sight to the kitchen.

Alex decides that Leah and Jordan should be responsible for coming up with a ready meal children will actually eat, whilst he and Myles argue over whether the theme should be a monster/spooky theme or a geography theme.  Myles manages to convince Alex that his idea is better and the concept ‘Horrible Healthy Meals’ is born.  For me, as a parent to young children, this immediately fails on two points – the first is that no parent will buy something that says ‘horrible’ on it and secondly, no child will want something that says ‘healthy’, but what do I know?

The branding teams each work with a slightly bemused graphic designer, Team Evolves ‘Oh My Pow’ packaging looks like a washing powder box, whilst the overuse of skulls on the ‘Deadly Dinners’ packaging makes you want to immediately store it away under lock and key with the toilet cleaner.

It’s a mixed bag in the industrial kitchens, Francesca is following Luisa’s detailed list of ingredients and cooking instructions (Luisa who can’t cook savoury), scarily she doesn’t bother to taste as she goes along; probably because she knows it will be awful—Caribbean and Thai?  Come on!

At least Leah and Jordan manage to come up with a meal that will actually appeal to the taste buds of children, pasta and tomato sauce with a few disguised prawns will placate even the most fussiest of eaters especially if you tell them it’s bat’s blood.

With the recipes concocted, the teams take their fare to the unsuspecting public.  A group of students (probably the only market who would entertain such a bizarre mix of flavours) turn their noses up at the fusion food, saying that it didn’t possess any ‘pow’ and was bland and tasteless. The pasta dish goes down well with a group of infant school children but the packaging and concept left the parents cold.

Undeterred by their market research results, both teams plough ahead with their original ideas and set about their creating their pitches for buyers.

With two supermarkets and an online buyer lined up, the teams had to try and sell their ready meal concepts.  Myles is first in the hot seat; although his pitch is derailed rather comically by Alex’s over-zealous pricking of cellophane wrapping and not knowing how a microwave works.  Seriously, a 22 year old cannot work a microwave, the future doesn’t look bright.

Neil desperately tries to persuade his first clients to buy the not so ‘oh my pow’ fusion rubbish by promising that they’ll add in some flavour if they place an order.

With the pitches over it is back to the boardroom to find out which team has won any orders, if any, and who will be fired.

Lord Sugar takes great delight in telling the teams that their products are quite frankly rubbish, although I suspect it’s been a while since Lord Sugar has ever eaten a ready meal.  The numbers are announced and the only order secured by Team Endeavour was the pitch delivered by Jordan, clearly they were impressed by the use of the term ‘purchasing manager’ when in fact he meant ‘mum’.  The other two buyers were put off by the skulls and deadly angles.

Unbelievably, Team Evolve managed to convince two of the three suppliers to buy their fusion confusion and they are declared the winners and sent off to perhaps the most boring treat to date.  So boring I can’t actually remember what it was other than it involved an aerodrome in Northampton.

Alex as Project Manager felt the downfall of the task was purely down to Myles’ ‘deadly dinners’ idea and for the first time in the series he’s absolutely right.  He wanted to let Leah and Jordan off the hook, but Lord Sugar insisted that he bring in a third person into the boardroom so Leah was the unlucky candidate.

The boardroom showdown was only going to go one way, Leah put up an impassioned fight for her safety and Myles has proved himself to be a worthy candidate throughout the series so he could be forgiven for this week’s slip up.  However, Alex’s lack of direction and seemingly poor business idea meant that Lord Sugar really didn’t have any other alternative, but to fire him.

How would your team fare on our Team Apprentice Manufacturing task? Our team building team apprentice event has been successfully hosted hundreds of times!

Week seven of The Apprentice and there are ten candidates still left in the process.   The program starts with the usual 6 am call and extremely short notice to get up, dressed and an overnight bag packed.  The more than a little unusual shot of a grown man stuffing an over-sized teddy bear into his bag was a little disconcerting to say the least, but then Jason never fails to surprise.

The teams meet Lord Sugar at the Tower of London, a bizarre choice of venue given that he goes on to explain that this week’s task is to select three items to sell to the caravanning community, not many of which are generally seen around the Tower of London, unless they are cleverly disguised as ravens.

Kurt was selected to become the project manager for Endeavour, on the basis that he once went on a caravanning holiday when he was nine, and Myles said that caravans were banned in Monaco so ruled himself out of the running.  Neil offered his services for Evolve.

With the PMs in place the teams then split up, with half going to see vendors with a view to selecting two products to sell, and the others heading off to the Motorhome and Caravan show at the NEC to find a top-end product to attempt to sell to the public.

In a bid to ensure that Team Endeavour got their choice of items to sell, Myles went into overdrive for praise and indeed, love, for each and every product.  Sadly for him his enthusiasm was over shadowed by Leah and Natalie attempt to drive down the prices, much to the vendors’ obvious annoyance.
Team Evolve take a different tack and all three members show genuine enthusiasm for the products so it came as no surprise to anyone that they won their first choice items to sell—the adventure box and electric bike.  Kurt’s team had to be content with the fold up chair and boat box.

With the lower value items taken care off, attention switched to the boys at the NEC.   Neil and Jason managed to tear themselves away from the retro campervans and instead decided the sales figures for the folding trailer tent spoke for themselves.  Meanwhile, after cleverly identifying that the caravanning target age group was the over-50s, Kurt and Alex forgot this fact and opted for the retro campervans aimed at people in their 30s.

With the products decided the real part of the task began. Team Evolve got off to a slow start and you began to wonder if their choice of products were actually the correct ones for the market, but slowly Luisa began to get her technique down, much to the disgruntlement of Jordan who struggled to sell anything.

Over at Team Endeavour, sales of the folding chairs were taking off, although not too many people seemed too interested in the boat boxes—a fact probably not helped by the fact that Natalie thought the middle plank of the boat is actually a picnic table.

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Alex had his nose put out of joint when Kurt tells him that at 22 he is too young to sell campervans to the over-50s.  22?  Blimey, the paper rounds in the valleys must be very gruelling!

In another shock moment, Jason appeared to be coming into his own on the sales front.  Maybe he’s found his niche in selling trailer tents to pensioners as he managed to bag the first sale of the high price item.

With Kurt and Myles failing to get anyone remotely interested in buying a campervan, Kurt decided that maybe a bit of “eye candy” would help so enlisted Leah to come over and join them.  A sexist tactic that almost worked, although the fact that Leah seemed genuinely more interested in the product than the other two probably worked more in her favour than her looks.

With the day’s sales drawing to a close it was back to the boardroom for the all-important figures and firing.

Kurt’s Team Endeavour failed to sell any campervans and only shifted a few boat boxes and chairs, their sales total came to just under £1500.  Neil’s team managed to sell 3 trailer tents at £10,000 each and along with a few electric bikes sales their tally came to a whopping £33,000 and they were crowned deserved winners.

Kurt decided that Natalie and Alex should accompany him in the boardroom, Natalie because her negativity lost them their first choice products and Alex because he was behind the decision of choosing the campervan over the trailer tent.

Lord Sugar couldn’t forgive Kurt for choosing the wrong product and not selling anything so he was quickly dismissed.  However, his finger hadn’t finished and in the first double firing of the series, Natalie was also shown the way to the awaiting taxi outside for being in the boardroom for the third time.

How would your teams fare in one of our Team Apprentice team building challenge?

 

 

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