Guest Author - Eileen O´Sullivan
In Autumn of 2011, Lord Alan Sugar’s ‘Education Like No Other’, aka ‘Young Apprentice’ was back on the Beeb. Well almost. In 2010, its inaugural year, it was ‘Junior Apprentice’, so the brand has been remodelled already. Oh well - who can keep up with these thrusting business types?
Arjun Rajyagor won Junior Apprentice, 2010 – aged 17 he looked about 12 – though when he was 12, he built a computer in his bedroom, and probably looked about 7. Still, he was all-round generally adorable, and brilliant to boot. Yay! A worthy winner then, and a surprising foil to the attention seekers and backstabbers we’re accustomed to on The Apprentice UK. Not all the kids were allright though - anyone remember Zoe Plummer? She was just plain scary, self opinionated and full of herself. Oh, well OK then - the usual Apprentice fare, but younger.
So, to 2011 then - and be warned, this review of the inaugural episode contains spoilers!
Waiting stern faced outside the board room are 12 of Britain’s brightest young things. The girls look smart and are dressed way above their ages, and the boys are all suited and booted. Just check out Mahamed. Man, he is fly – he models some sharp suits in the first episode - one white with a fine stripe, one shiny silver grey - and he even gets away with a black shirt/white tie combo. Despite looking about 4 foot nothing, and sporting a gold wristwatch almost as big as his head, there is some serious chic going on here! The other young men all look like older men, but smaller ie disappointingly boring.
At the start of the show, Lord Sugar explains why he is still interested in business– ‘I love a deal, that will never ever go away. The other thing in more recent times is that I love you lot –I love to encourage and give opportunities to people of your age, and see if you have that spark of genius.’ I admire his focus, but seeing how the candidates promote themselves as the show kicks off, you’d be hard pressed to imagine their own mothers could love them.
16 year old James Macullough pretty much sums up the ethos of Young Apprentice 2011 on its website – ‘I have integrity, but when winning gets in the way of integrity, integrity goes out the window’, and in the first episode the girls’ team, enigmatically called ‘Kinetic’, amply illustrates this winning formula, while making, and then selling homemade ice cream.
As Sugar’s seasoned (and gurning) sidekick Nick Hewer explained, they ‘latched on to a particularly good technique which is up selling – the scoop goes in and guess what? The topping goes on before the customer is asked whether he or she wants it.’ And unsurprisingly, the toppings – sauce and sprinkles – are each additional charges. Though charging extra for the ice cream cone as well was unexpected, even in the cut throat broadcast world of budding entrepreneurs, Apprentice style.
Quite what the Trades Descriptions Act would make of the girls’ description of full fat ice cream embellished with bananas, strawberries, mango and marshmallows as ‘a healthy treat’ I wouldn’t like to speculate – and the cute strap line ‘ treat the lips, trim the hips’ could only have been dreamt up by metabolically unchallenged teenage girls. But hey, if it sells it, why knock it?
The usual inability to add up confuses the girls, and as always food gets slopped all over the floor by both teams. Throwing away a third of their basic ice cream mix because Kinetic’s sub team, charged with buying bananas, believed you bought not by the kilo but by the ‘bowl’, and consequently brought back too few, was a first, however. Gbemi gamely insisted it was the fault of the banana skins – the girls making chocolate and banana ice cream in the kitchen had surely not taken account of their weight when they ordered the fruit? But then banana skins are guaranteed to trip anyone up.
The boys, who unsubtly labelled themselves ‘Atomic’ decided to market their goodies with a pirate theme. Well James did, oh hang on – was that Mahamed? ‘I thought of the treasure chest.’ ‘I thought of the pirate costumes.’ All booty was up for grabs in the boardroom.
When asked about Harry H’s leadership skills, James said ‘I was really pleased with his leadership, and he took a lot of the ideas that I had on board.’ Mahamed, who seemed unable to get a word in edgeways, took the default stance of chanting ‘I was the one, I was the one, I was the one,’ - the one who seemingly did everything good. Though later he reconsidered. Maybe he just ‘developed’ everything? There was mutiny in the boardroom, as each of them jostled for glory. Whoops – someone must have been lying, then. And then there were eleven.
Eileen recommends -
She watches The Apprentice and Young Apprentice on Brit TV