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The Apprentice – Series 12, Week Two – Jeans

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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, reorganisation and 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.

Japanese Jeans

The candidates start week 2 in über trendy East London and told they will be marketing jeans made from exclusive Japanese denim – what could possibly go wrong?

Each team decided on its brand name pretty quickly – even if it did involve some people “listening” carefully, then completely overruling others ideas. Mukai’s management style went from ignoring his team’s views and imposing his own ideas, to leaving the sub-team to get on with it without giving them the input they were asking for.

The importance of effective communication in the workplace can’t be overestimated. Mukai ignored his sub-team, leaving them to it, but the lack of direction led to them missing the deadline for the digital billboard. Subsequently feeling there was a lack of communication (er, hello?), he put himself in charge of the sub-team. Shambles. Did anyone else feel a bit excited about the world of pain Lord Sugar was bound to unleash? Just me? I don’t believe you.

Over on the girls team meanwhile, some great ideas were emerging: if only they could remember to take the jeans with them (it’s jeans week girls). And it got worse…

Oh Jessica, how embarrassing. We’ve all been there, those days when work gets so on top of you you feel like throwing up, hyperventilating, hiding in the toilets, or maybe all three. After a short time out she seemed to pull herself together, sort of: “You’re coming up with problems to our solutions!” Don’t worry Alana, I was as nonplussed as you.

The cringe factor for the boys didn’t stop, and I found it difficult to watch their pitches. Mukai got the brand name wrong, fluffed his words and, did they seriously not understand what unisex means? As soon as they suggested unisex jeans I could see the major flaw – boys: there’s a reason men and women have different cut jeans – not least because most of us women have these child-bearing things called hips.

Ultimately Lord Sugar called both teams out on their complete ineptitude, saying he couldn’t choose a winner (and not in a good way). The worst of a bad bunch ended up in the boardroom and out went Natalie for being a wallflower.

It was a depressing episode, but let’s focus on the positive – Karthik’s reflection on the teamwork: “It was like pushing custard up a hill”.

See you next week on the manufacturing task for sweet making and mixed teams.

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