What do you gain from going on The Apprentice?

May 1, 2012


As someone who, admittedly, is more of a casual observer of the Apprentice than a die-hard one, a whole blog post about the merits of the show might seem like a stretch too far. Indeed, after a few seconds of logical thought, I decided that it probably was. However, still feeling compulsed to write about the show in one form or another, I thought it might be fun to have a look about the benefits that the show actually brings its contestants, and the businesses involved with it.

Okay, so there are the obvious benefits for the winner – to the uninitiated, or those who haven’t really bothered with the telly over the last few years, the winner of the show gets to become the business partner of Lord Alan Sugar (formerly of Amstrad and erm, chairman of Tottenham Hotspur fame) as well as receiving an investment in a business of their own creation to the tune of £250,000 and having him join you as a partner.

Not bad going indeed. But what about those that don’t win?

Well, there aren’t a whole load of benefits for them. Sure, you get the chance to flaunt your skillset in front of a national audience, but let’s face it, those that don’t win probably don’t have the sort of skillset to shout about on national TV in the first place.

While everyone gets the chance to make a mess of things in their own workplace – come on, who hasn’t from time to time – doing so in front of a national audience is a whole other ball game. Because of the nature of The Apprentice, it’s probably watched by more, well, business types than any other prime time programme on the box. As such, if you make a bit of a fool of yourself during a certain task (or perhaps more importantly, if the people editing the show make you look like a tool) you’ve pretty much ruined your chances of gaining employment with a fair percentage of the more reputable businesses out there. Indeed, people who do so can be fairly certain that business broadband systems will probably be chock full of videos featuring them proving themselves inept most Thursday lunchtimes (the show airs on Wednesday nights).

While the premise of the show is that it’s aimed at would be “entrepreneurs”, the chances are that most of the contestants that don’t win will have to seek gainful employment at one point in their lives. The job market is competitive enough at the moment without having to shake off the stigma of having already came across like a real life David Brent in front of everyone on the panel (and a few million others).

Of course, there are positives as well, but a lot of these aren’t necessarily tied back to the contestants themselves. Arguably the biggest success story of the entire show has been Lord Sugar himself. Despite the fact that he was obviously a highly-successful businessman before the show kicked off back in 2005, the amount of mainstream coverage he’s received over the last few years has obviously been higher than it would have without the show. Come to think of it, he probably wouldn’t have been appointed “business tsar” of the then-government in 2009 if it weren’t for his mainstream popularity off the back of the Apprentice.

Not that you’d blame him of course – he’s a smart man.

Similarly, as alluded to earlier on, many former contestants have also complained that the show was edited in a way that made for better entertainment than a factitious account of what really happened in tasks would have. But then that’s the point – the people editing the show have more of a responsibility to their viewership than they do to the people running the show. It’s entertainment dahling.

And I guess that’s the point – The Apprentice provides great Wednesday evening entertainment. However, if you’re thinking about applying for it, I wouldn’t bother. Unless you’re confident that you’ll win, it could be the worst career move you’ll ever make.


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