Young Apprentice – Britain’s Future Entrepreneurs Revealed

Apprentice – Britain’s Future Entrepreneurs Revealed.

If the motley crew revealed in part one of BBC’s Young Apprentice represents the cream of the UK’s future Entrepreneurs, it may be time to emigrate. Over the next 8 weeks we will get to know these individuals a bit better, but on last night’s showing I thought I was watching the wrong show; more Big Brother than The Apprentice. The title’s changed from the last series (Junior Apprentice), and in my mind at least Young Apprentice has connotations of Star Wars. It was the Emperor (Lord Sugar?) who used the term when trying to persuage ambitious Jedis to The Dark Side. Maybe the change is deliberate…

The editing may have been cruel, but the personalities on show last night were, for the most part, not attractive (hence the Big Brother reference);  James, Northern Irish, economist. Gbemi, gobby fashion designer; Zara, film mogul; Ben – Richard Branson fan; Harry Maxwell, pushy and Harry Hitchens, nice guy; Mahamed, small but with a great line in sharp suits; Lizzie and Lewis, scousers; Hannah, nice girl; and Hayley and Haya, mostly anonymous.

And so to the first task, which involved making ice cream and selling it. The teams were set up along gender lines, but who would stand up to be the first Project Manager (PM). It is interesting to hear all the aggressive sound bites from each candidate; you could reasonably expect everyone to want to be the leader. But no, it fell to “nice guys” Hannah and Harry H to step forward in the absence of any other volunteers.

Both PMs attempted to be democratic and good listeners, but it was like herding cats. The real personalities immediately started to emerge amongst the teams. James made an immediate impact – as highly opinionated and annoying to everyone else. Having agreed on team names (Kinetic for the girls; Atomic for the boys) they set about making frozen products. The girls came to a consensus quite quickly, but the boys descended to bickering. Harry did a good job of remaining calm, especially as James disagreed with everything! James came up with a pirate theme, with a contribution from Mahamed. Harry M was good with the numbers and came up with profit targets and aiming to make 60 litres of ice cream. Meanwhile, the girls demonstrated an inability to do basic maths (“Three fours are twenty eight”) and guessed at an amount to make. They then instructed the other half of the team to buy specific amounts of the fresh fruit (through dubious negotiation). Suffice to say, the girls got the wrong amount of fruit (didn’t listen) and the team had to write off 3o litres of product. Gbemi refused to go back to get more fruit and Hannah was unable to assert her authority.

The boys chose Southend to sell their product, but economist James suggested selling well below the market prices. The price they chose was still too low, and this was to prove to be a crucial mistake. The girls went to Chessington World of Adventures, and were forced to mark the prices up, and include some built-in upselling (sprinkles, cones), to compensate for the material they had to throw away.

In the board room, it was revealed that the girls had made the better profit and won the challenge. Harry was forced into deciding who to bring back. It did not prove to be a difficult decision, with Mahamed and James competing to take full credit for the failed task. It was tough for Lord Sugar to decide which of these prats should go. In the end it was sharp dressed man Mahamed who was fired, but it was a close thing. in fact,  James was warned by Lord Sugar that he was on the radar. I can’t see him lasting long.

So, who are the early favourites? Both PMs did well under trying conditions, and Harry M, despite some horrendous sound bites, showed good business sense. He also managed to avoid any obvious mistakes and is my early favourite. He certainly impressed Lord Sugar

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2 Responses to Young Apprentice – Britain’s Future Entrepreneurs Revealed

  1. Tim says:

    Hi Mark. It’s that time again, eh? Good opening summary.

    The first episode is always difficult, isn’t it? So many faces – half of which look the same and have similar names. And only a small amount of time to try to introduce us to as many of the candidates as possible while featuring the three who will be coming back to the boardroom.

    I think they’re an OK bunch so far. Of course, we get a focus on the ‘Big Bads’, the Stuart Baggs/Jedi Jim characters who will keep us entertained most of the way through – James, Gbemi – and the episode’s fall guy, Mahamed, who proved himself to have the truth-twisting qualities necessary for a career politician, complete with the emphatic hand gestures. (Watch for him on the Tory back-benches 15 years from now …)

    Early favourites? Easier to say for the boys, who featured more than the girls in this episode. Both Harrys showed some leadership qualities and business ability. Lewis was likeably Scouse, but we’ll see how he reacts under pressure. Big Ben was quiet in the background but seems level-headed – watch out for him. James will fall in the final two weeks, having given us soundbites aplenty, Baggs-style.

    The girls? Gbemi is the junior version of the grown-ups’ Edna – I give her 2 weeks. Haya was quite pushy at times, but made decent contributions (except for her team name suggestion of Sixth Sense). Hayley and Hannah I kept getting mixed up, but the former was anonymous as PM and the latter couldn’t do basic maths. (Mind you, neither could Yasmina Siadatan – remember the sandalwood debacle? – and she won!) Zara is too pretentious – all style over substance so far. And we didn’t really see working-class girl Lizzie at all. Which, by my reckoning, should put her right up there among the favourites.

    We shall see. The formula is a bit predictable – come on, we all knew the girls were going to win as soon as they showed us the costing debacle in detail, didn’t we? – but then half the fun is knowing what’s going to happen before it actually does, isn’t it?

    A link to my opening night ramblings below:

    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2011/10/25/young-apprentice-kinetic-energy-wins-the-day-as-atomic-implode/

  2. markdecosemo says:

    Great to hear from you again, Tim! you are quite correct about the formula. I look forward to seeing the girls lose a task so we can assess them correctly. Great pioint about Gbemi, by the way.

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