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What we learnt from The Apprentice 2016

Author: Jenny Dallas /20 December 2016/Categories: Apprenticeships

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What we learnt from The Apprentice 2016
The 12th series of the Apprentice has now come to an end, and after weeks of tasks, Lord Alan Sugar and his trusted advisors have come to a decision - Cake Business Owner, Alana Spencer is his new business partner. But the Apprentice isn’t over!

There is still a lot to learn from the show, there are so many characters that go onto the Apprentice, here is what we learnt from the contestants of this series...


If you watched the Apprentice, I’m sure that you’d agree that after watching the first episode, you wouldn’t have said that Alana would be Lord Sugar's apprentice. Let alone get to the final! From the first week, Alana was overlooked, even in the 5th task, where the candidates had been living together for just over 5 weeks, Karthik forgot Alana’s name! It was only as the weeks continued that she became more demanding and stood up for herself - Alana’s voice was heard!

It just goes to show that your voice is always heard, no matter who you are, no matter the industry. You don’t have to put everyone down or be the biggest character in a group to make an impact, being yourself, making suggestions and listening to your Project Manager is just as respected, if not more. 


Novelty gift business owner Courtney Wood reached the final and came runner up to what was an exciting end to The Apprentice 2016. He was the cheeky chappy of the programme who seemed to bring a bit of fun to the tasks on which he won 8 out of 10. However, I am with Claude in saying that he did lack personality on many occasions, he did need ‘slapping round the face’ to wake him up a little bit. Throughout the programme we saw how toe curling it was to watch Courtney pitch. But in the final, with help from a speaking coach, he surprised us all with an incredibly eloquent presentation on his business plan - ‘Purple Whale’… still don't understand that.

Courtney really did develop throughout the process, he shows that you can start off shy and develop over time to become somebody completely different to who you were before. He missed out to Alana’s Ridiculously Rich cakes, but Lord Sugar did not rule out that Courtney could do very well in the future.


You don’t have to be a winner, Frances certainly wasn’t! She lost 8/10 tasks, but that didn’t dishearten her - she only faltered at the last hurdle! She only learnt from her mistakes. To put it bluntly, Frances is disorganised, and while I’m not saying that’s OK, it goes to show that you don’t have to be perfect to go far. Frances excelled in selling and her fiery personality shone through in that. From task to task, she would not be overlooked, and when it came to her being Project Manager - everyone knew about it!


Jessica was in the final five and good for her, she developed well from the over bubbly and frankly quite annoying candidate to someone who could control Paul and Sofiane - and that is quite a feat! Jessica did well in the tasks along with an occasional shed of a tear - I thought it was a bit pathetic, but lord sugar brushed it aside which I agree with, there must be an enormous amount of pressure on the candidates to perform and everyone gets overwhelmed now and again. It’s OK to be overwhelmed, it happens to the best of us!

During the interview stage, Jessica did get torn apart ruthlessly and that is what really let her down- but as shown, she has learnt from her mistakes and has vowed to continue to develop her business. This also goes to show that even though other people may not support your plan, as long as you know what you are talking about, you will not give up on it. Don’t let other people dishearten you!


You look at Grainne, and you know she means business, there was no doubt that she would be in the final five. She is your typical business woman, she is a strong, confident and knows exactly what she wants. However, when it came to tasks that she wasn't too sure about, she became less decisive, relying on other members of the team. Throughout the show, her feistiness shone through - she listened to her team mates and worked on what they knew best. 

If you know what you want, it is good to be like Grainne, you won’t be overlooked, people look at you for guidance and you know that you can give it.


Trishna went far, you can’t deny that, but just a tip - don’t be like Trishna. Yes, you look at Trishna and you know that she wants to go far, but her personality didn’t exactly take her there. She is a straight talker, you know what she wants, and she will have it the way that she wants, but she is also incredibly miserable. 

During some tasks she would go from pushing the team to the best that they can do, to being moody and definitely bringing the whole team down. You need to remember that even if you’re not at the top of the chain, your mood has a massive effect on your team. It’s important to keep your home life just there, you can be a whole new person at work!


Dillon is a self proclaimed ‘super-creative’ person and works as a freelance art director at a fashion magazine. Throughout the process you couldn't help but find Dillon slightly annoying, believing he was right and over ruling good ideas just because he thought his ideas were best. Let’s put it this way, listening isn’t Dillon’s strong point! 

Listening in business is more important than being able to talk in most cases. To listen effectively you need to focus on what the other person is saying and respond appropriately, you gain a lot less by shutting the other person down as soon as they try and say something- something Dillon did to Alana! Ironic how she won in the end. 


Sofiane was something else. Throughout the entire process he thought that he would be Lord Sugar’s business partner, he was an arrogant man. He put other people down and didn’t listen to his Project Manager on various tasks because he thought that he was right. In fact, he didn’t even listen to Lord Sugar when he was giving him constructive criticism. It’s important to listen to other members on your team, Lord Sugar himself has advisors, and he listens to what other people have to say!

You shouldn’t be as overzealous as Sofiane, if you are, you will struggle - a lot. There will always be someone who can give you advice, don’t put them down - listen to people about you! 


Paul was the most abrasive out of all the candidates throughout the process. He often showed his dissatisfaction by throwing objects or arguing his case in front of the innocent public. This is what let Paul down in the end. Lord Sugar couldn't see him working with Paul due to his unprofessional tendencies when it came to working as a team player.

It is ok to work as an individual and be good on your own in some instances, but it often pays to have people skills and to work in a team easily. Share your ideas without dictating them to other people on your team. 


Karthik is one of the ‘characterful’ candidates to say the least- he is the type of person that you think the producers threw him into the mix for a laugh and pure entertainment value. He did bring entertainment to the show! Karthik demonstrated himself as a go getter and the ultimate candidate to partner with Lord Sugar due to him being a ‘human magnet’. The viewers saw him more as the comedy candidate who spoke proudly of his monobrow stating “If i wanted to be like everyone else, I’d have waxed my monobrow.” 

During the process Karthik demonstrated that he was quite a savvy salesman and after securing just a few sales, declared himself as ‘the best salesman in the world’. However Karthik’s downfall was in the fact that he did not work well in a team, he thought he was always right but in Lord Sugar’s eyes he was almost always wrong. It’s good to be different, and people often have a considerable amount of praise for people that are themselves. But try to remember people's names! Respect for other people will bring you respect, it is important to have respect from your peers, management and people below you.


Rebecca, well, is Rebecca. It is hard to describe her as a person other than - bubbly. Every episode you would see her cringe-worthy smile - she was the life of every task. Whether that was for the best is another question… Sometimes her enthusiasm did get the better of her, and the more serious candidates definitely struggled with her fun loving character, but she did remain herself - and nobody can fault her for that. However, she did also have some quite major downfalls. Rebecca would always be right, right up to the last task when Alana had to tell her ‘no’ a number of times before she even began to comprehend what ‘NO’ meant!

Rebecca is the embodiment of being yourself. You can start a business and work within one, you don’t have to necessarily be ‘boring’ or a workaholic you can have a successful career and still enjoy yourself.

The candidates all have their merits, the bottom line is that they have put themselves out on a very public stage to win a coveted prize. They have all sacrificed time, energy and their own dignity to compete for the coveted investment from Lord Sugar. The Apprentice shows that being ‘you’ can get you extremely far. Alana realised that the USP to her product is ‘herself’ and that won her £250,000 - that is an important message to all budding young apprentices or entrepreneurs. 

Be Yourself!!!

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