After last week’s personality clashes, it appeared as though we may be in for more of the same at the start of this week’s programme, with candidates taking it in turn, Big Brother style, to slag each other off. Surprisingly, lessons appear to have been learned and almost everyone was on their best behaviour.
Lord Sugar selected the Project Managers (PMs) for this week’s task, both based on their experience or interest in running events. Selina has experience in running events and headed up Connexus. She was
allowed to bring Richard over as well. Gary was PM for a second successive week, running Versatile.
The task was to organise a children’s party with a budget of £2000. The team with the biggest profit would win, but the parents buying the party had the option to ask for money back if not fully satisfied.
Both teams met up with the parents of the children they were organising the party for. Both teams checked what the children were interested in. Gary was particularly good at engaging both parents and child, and was sure to leave with the client’s telephone number. Selina, who admits to not liking kids, also got lots of information, but it came across as more mechanical. She also forgot to get contact details.
Having decided on their themes, both teams set off to find venues and games etc. Both teams had an eye on profit, but it became a recurring theme for Richard across the episode. Connexus settled for an Olympics theme at a leisure centre, Versatile went for an Outdoor Activity centre. David Stevenson was quick to point out that he is a qualified climbing instructor, so a few pounds were saved here. There is always a risk in taking this approach – David may be a qualified and competent teacher, but he is no entertainer! By way of contrast, Scott and Brett put personal differences aside and pulled out all the stops to make their party, and the bus ride in particular, fun.
In the end, it was cost cutting that decided the task. Both teams had to offer refunds because of poor quality items, but Versatile suffered most. They eventually lost the task by over £200. Most of this was due to the idea of selling personalised tee shirts. They paid for the tee shirts, but had to write them off as the quality was poor. They also had to give back money for the lack of entertainment on the bus. David was implicated in both of these, so it was no surprise that he ended up fired. Gary managed to demonstrate his lack of decisiveness when he couldn’t separate Joseph and Charleine, so all 4 of the team were brought back by Lord Sugar. Charleine, Joseph and Gary survived to fight another week.
The key to success in this task is to listen to what the client wants and then find a cost-effective way to deliver it. It’s good to be able to cross-sell or up-sell items (such as the party bags) but you have to make sure they represent value for money.
The Excel Communications Apprentice 2015 blog is written by
Training Associate – Mark De Cosemo