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The Apprentice – Series 12, Week Nine – Virtual Reality

new careers

Each episode of The Apprentice will be scrutinised by Chloe Harrold, a senior employment lawyer with the progressive business services group, Outset, and she will pull out the HR blunders for your entertainment and education. Based in Maidstone TV Studios, watching out in case Lord Sugar lands on the helipad, Chloe has experience of advising employers and senior executives in all areas of employment law. She deals with contentious and non-contentious matters, including exit strategy, settlement agreements, discrimination, reorganisationand TUPE. Chloe is also a qualified New York lawyer who qualified as a UK solicitor in 2009 whilst specialising in employment law at a City firm. Having spent several years working in the City she joined Outset in 2016.

Virtual Insanity

It’s week 9 and the silliness continues. The teams are instructed to come up with a virtual reality game to impress Lord Sugar, gaming enthusiasts and industry experts….but of course that didn’t quite work out as planned.

Why is it that week on week project managers ignore the obvious skill-set of their team members and put them in the wrong place? Not putting Dylan, with his branding career, design degree and illustrating skills in the sub-team responsible for designing the character and branding their game was madness.

The teams picked opposite themes of space and underwater – was that just a coincidence given their team names (Nebular and Titans) or did I miss something? Anyway, what followed was the usual collection of cringe-worthy moments and bad decisions. Both team performances seemed shocking to me, so either as the losing team would have been no big surprise. I did however like the badger – that multi-coloured quiff was on point.

I can’t help thinking that actually it doesn’t much matter what happens in the tasks – Lord Sugar must have the end-game in mind all the time: he knows what the candidates’ business plans are from the get go. He’s no fool and I imagine he has a good idea of what (and who) he does and doesn’t want to end up with. Lord Sugar is investing £250k of his own money – a drop in the ocean for him but still, I can appreciate why he wants to put it to the best use possible. Not only is his money at stake but he’s putting his name and reputation to this process.

Such a pre-determined course of action should, of course, be avoided in a real workplace.  Employers will undergo all sorts of challenges with their employees but simply going through the motions of a process (be it redundancy, performance management or otherwise) already knowing what the ultimate decision will be should be avoided at all costs. Taking actions to suggest your mind is already made up (like not making the best use of someone’s skill-set in obvious scenarios) can be disastrous to defending an allegation of unfairness later down the line.

Ultimately the Titans were less swim more sink and we saw another double elimination with Dylan and Sofian going. With Courtney as the only man left in the competition my earlier prediction for an all-female final could come true – and it turns out my favourite, Trishna, is also the bookies favourite.

Next week is a task I can get on board with – making their own gin…is it too late to become a candidate??

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