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The lessons we can learn from ‘The Apprentice’

When you Google the term ‘apprentice’ you will without a doubt come across one rather well known BBC television programme, starring multimillionaire Lord Alan Sugar and a handful of candidates battling to be his apprentice.

Jane McGuire
12th February 2016
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Although we are by no means suggesting this is anything like the format of the training you might be considering doing, there are some important lessons that can be taken from the high pressured boardroom.


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The term ‘apprentice’

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, an apprentice is ‘someone who has agreed to work for a skilled person for a particular period of time and often for low payment, in order to learn that person’s skills.’

Although Lord Alan’s apprentices will not be on the usual minimum wage, many of the candidates on the show will have walked away from six figure salaries in order to learn from one of the industry’s most successful names. Although you probably won’t be working with Lord Allan, remember that you cannot put a price on the training you will receive in your apprenticeship.


The training

The show would not be the same if it were called ‘the degree’ and involved a load of contestants going to lectures and sitting exams. ‘The Apprentice’ is all about practical, hands-on training, as each week the contestants are seen doing various tasks. From sales training in a busy market, to designing and building a product, an apprenticeship is all about learning on the job, not from a textbook. (However your apprenticeship will involve some classroom based training as well).

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The goal

Although some candidates are clearly there for the fame and fortune, most are competing to get their dream job with Lord Sugar. Your apprenticeship will almost definitely not be as competitive, nor will you have to sit in a boardroom each week awaiting your fate, but the end goal will be the same. If you do well, you will more than likely be offered a job by your employer, so take every opportunity to impress.

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The experts

The show would not be the same without Nick Hewer, Karen Brady and former judge Margaret Mountford. All experts in their fields, they watch, assist and guide contestants in Lord Alan’s search. As an apprentice, you can expect your guidance in the classroom to be far less terrifying than it is on the show, but also delivered by experts in your chosen field. Soak up their years of experience and ask when you aren’t sure – one of the biggest benefits of doing an apprenticeship is being exposed to this knowledge.


The personality test

In nearly every series you notice similar personality traits and quickly learn that those trying to bulldoze their way to the top will not succeed. Throughout your apprenticeship, you will be working closely with an employer. If you don’t make a good impression, they are far less likely to offer you a job after you complete your training. Be honest, listen to others and learn how to work well in a team – although you might be working alongside individuals you can’t stand, suck it up and remember the end goal.


The little things

More often than not, the candidates on the apprentice will get so wrapped up in the politics of the show that they forget basic skills such as time management and focusing on the task at hand. Remember you don’t have to be the most qualified apprentice in the world, but it’s important to remember the simple things to impress.

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The interview process

Towards the end of every series we see the candidates taking part in their worst challenge yet – the interview process. Gaining your first job will almost definitely not involve such an intense grilling, but learning how to sell yourself is important. When going to a job interview, make notes of all the real life examples you have under your belt and get ready to use these in your answers.


Although we can’t get you a space on the next TV programme, we can help you find your perfect apprenticeship. Have a browse of the options available here and get ready to impress. 

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