The boys pulled off another victory this week, as Varna led the girls to a second successive defeat. The task was the perennial favourite – buying 9 items for the best price the teams can negotiate. The slight difference here was that each team was split into 2 sub-teams; one near Calais and one in Kent.
Varna got the role of Project Manager (PM) for the girls, ahead of Elle, whom she made leader of the UK sub-team. For the boys, Joseph got the part.
Personal tensions were evident on both teams; Joseph and Brett dislike Richard, and Varna has problems with Charleine.
Varna laid down the law; she decided upon the sub-teams and what items they would source. Joseph took Richard and Sam with him to France because they both speak (a little) French, and so he could keep an eye on Richard.
The pattern of recent weeks continued; the boys working as a team, even with the personal differences, and the girls continuing to fight publicly.
There was little evidence of planning and logistics in either team, but Joseph was at least open to the suggestions from other team members. Varna displayed a lack of flexibility.
She didn’t really have a plan B – plan A was that each sub-team stuck to their assigned list, even when it was obvious that this was wrong. It was only when time was running out that she backed down.
Other team members made good suggestions, for instance Charlene pointing out that they should prioritise looking for the mirror as the fine was higher than that of the mussels, but in general these were ignored.
In the end it was accumulating more fines for missing items, and one for getting the wrong item (cheese) that cost the girls, so it was no surprise that they lost the task. Neither was it a surprise that Varna chose to bring Elle and Jenny back. Elle headed up the UK sub-team and Jenny was the only person not to buy an item.
In my view, the failure of the task was purely down to Varna being an awful PM. Poor leadership, no planning and no thinking about logistics all contributed to Varna’s downfall, and yet she was not fired.
Yes, Jenny was poor, but the failure of the task was down to Varna.
Elle, on the other hand made a good impression in the boardroom and was encouraged, by Lord Sugar, to project herself more.
The format of the programme and the decisions of Lord Sugar continue to be flawed. Yes, it makes for good TV, but it made no sense that Varna survive – unless Sugar knows something we don’t.
Her business plan, for instance?
The Excel Communications Apprentice 2015 blog is written by Training Associate – Mark De Cosemo