Our two former Apprentice contenders – Ellie Reed and Natasha Scribbins – blog on the fifth episode in this year’s series.
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Finally we got to see Ricky as project manager [spurred on by Scribbins' calls last week
perhaps], but unfortunately he did not lead his team to victory. However I still think that he was effective in this task, and his skills and strengths as a leader were evident to see.
That said, he did not delegate the right people into the relevant responsibilities, and gave too much power to others, such as Duane as manager of the sub-team. This caused Ricky to lose control over the management of the promotional video, and it was clear when Duane was fired that the execution and production of the video was the key failure around the task.
We definitely saw a great performance from Ricky this week as project manager (PM), pitcher and overall team player. He also gave us another fantastic boardroom show, fending off the threat of being fired very efficiently. He negotiates his position well in front of Lord Sugar and keeps a calm exterior, which will benefit him further as the weeks progress and the heat gets turned up even more. It becomes very intense as the odds of Lord Sugar directing the words “You’re fired” in your direction become a very realistic prospect. If he can keep his composure I really see Ricky having the opportunity to get to at least the final five. He demonstrated good business skills within this task and was heavily involved in directing pricing and strategy, so I think Lord Sugar sees him as a potential. However, we are hearing a bit more of the Stuart Baggs-type language building on the already extravagant statement of “reflection of perfection”. I am not sure this will appeal to Lord Sugar.
As for Duane, the candidate that was fired, I think it was clear to see that the pressure was already getting to him by week five. His attitude to me showed signs of the stress and pressure he was under and in fact he came across as being slightly aggressive to his team members Laura and Nick. He also demanded more responsibility than he should have taken, making vital decisions without discussing them with his PM and was not prepared to listen to the opinions of Laura and Nick.
Overall, even though Ricky did not lead his team to a win, I think he is still going strong and I would guess that we may see him as PM again. I am sure he will want to demonstrate to Lord Sugar that he is a strong manager and has the ability to claim a victory. Ellie Reed
It’s Week 5 on the Apprentice (the week of my firing) and the two teams are asked to create a new fitness trend to compete with the likes of Zumba and body pump. Once created, they will pitch to the likes of Fitness First and Virgin, in the hope of selling the rights to their classes. So the PMs [project managers] are chosen – Stephen, current manager of a health club is the obvious choice for Phoenix and Ricky, with Jenna as the only competition, is the obvious choice for Sterling.
The ideas start to flow, with Ricky’s martial arts and Laura’s street dance ideas combined on Sterling, and Adam’s enthusiasm for anything to do with skipping (fit to skip, hip to skip, skinny dip and skip?) and Katy’s retro idea combined on Phoenix. So it’s off to an ’80s dance troop for Phoenix and to the boxing ring for.
Once reformed, the groups decide on a name, work out the moves and very soon ‘Groove Train’ and ‘Beat Battle’ are formed. Groove Train’s retro theme encompasses the use of space hoppers, hula hoops and Adam’s skipping ropes, which Tom rightly points out would be difficult to store in a gym, but current gym manager Stephen thinks not, so they crack on – cut to Adam demonstrating his thriller moves and lunges.
Meanwhile Ricky ‘The Fitness’ Martin (unfortunate but memorable surname) and his team are working on pitches, while the others are having a more of a verbal than beat battle down at the gym studios. Duane’s blood pressure looks to be reaching its limit during frequent arguments with Laura and Nick, but then again that could just be down to the fact he’s wearing a woollen overcoat... in a gym?!
Meanwhile Adam is choreographing Azhar, who looks a little uncomfortable in small red shorts, and his dancers. Adam is quick to assure him that he looks “the business” and soon takes to his role like a footballer to a Page 3 model, asking for “more smiles” and singing “what a feeling” in a voice that would give me a run for my money (and that’s saying something).
At the pitches, Ricky really steps up the mark by introducing himself by his full name (the panel manage to stifle their giggles) then describing the concept as fun and innovative and even demonstrating a few moves. Although they get a few negative comments as to it being a bit similar to other fitness programmes, feedback generally seems to be good. Ricky is quick to answer any questions in a confident and decisive manner.
Meanwhile, Stephen’s pitches are not going quite as well. With Azhar’s Mr Motivator-style outfit and facial expressions combined, their video is nothing short of hilarious. Despite the fun element of their concept, the panels seem less than impressed at the fact they have to store a load of extra space hoppers etc. Additionally when asked about price, much to Karen’s disgust, Stephen plucks his figures out of thin air – a quid here a couple of quid there!
So it’s back to the boardroom and much to everyone’s delight we get to another chance to see the ‘Groove Train’ video – while everyone else in the room sniggers, Azhar is clearly wanting a train to arrive and get him as far away as possible... And once again, after getting Ricky’s team’s hopes up by revealing that the first two clubs hated Stephen’s idea but took on board Ricky’s, it’s no surprise that Stephen’s team end up winning with the final gym putting a big order in. So it’s off to the café for the ‘Lord of the Ring’ Ricky and his team.
As much as I respect Ricky, back in the boardroom he comes a cropper, as so often is the case, by taking two people in from the sub-team without much idea of what went on. Duane, cocky as ever, is confident enough to say Laura shouldn’t be there as after all she only did as she was asked. Lord Sugar agrees and lets her off with another warning. So it’s then a two-way race. A race of this year’s super-egos. Ricky keeps his cool and fires back well at every accusation. His part in the task went well; he motivated the teams and delivered good pitches whereas Duane de-motivated his team and delivered a boring video. The Lord cottons on to this and Duane is this week’s casualty. Bye-bye Duane, you were definitely confident, credible and looked the part but were a little too cocky at times, which doesn’t bode well in the business world. Next week they are up in Scotland, and Jenna’s concerned she won’t understand the people, as she didn’t take Scottish at school! The Bloggers
Ellie Reed, who previously to appearing in last year’s series was a senior consultant with Beresford Blake Thomas, founded and now runs her own rec-to-rec business – Ellie Reed Consulting – in West Yorkshire and is also involved in motivational speaking in schools.
Natasha Scribbins made it to the final five contestants on last year’s Apprentice and is now group operations director EMEA at engineering recruiter Find the Engineer and rec-to-rec firm We are Recruitment. Both enterprises encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of recruitment by hiring consultants to work as associates.