Jaz Ampaw-Farr, 41, mother of three and a Literacy and Education Company Director from Milton Keynes became the first candidate to be fired in episode 1 of The Apprentice w,hich screened on Tuesday 7th May. It is always a little tough on the first candidate to be fired, as they traditionally find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the rest of the candidates keeping their heads down. However Jaz volunteered to be project leader on the first task without a moments hesitation or even a pause to let someone else offer to lead. A fatal rookie mistake. I do wonder whether candidates ever watch reruns of previous series.
The theme this week was Container with the candidates summoned for a midnight rendez-vous with Lord Sugar and a shipping container in Tilbury docks stocked with various goodies. The task was to sell as much of the goods in the container by 4pm that day. Before the first task , Lord Sugar gave the candidates the usual warning about not using cliches before he used his first one about actions speaking louder than words.
The teams were split along traditional Apprentice lines; girls v boys.
- Jaz Ampaw-Farr (team leader)
- Francesca MacDuff-Varley
- Leah Totton
- Luisa Zissman
- Natalie Panayi
- Rebecca Slater
- Sophie Lau
- Uzma Yakoob
- Jason Leech (team leader)
- Alex Mills
- Jordan Poulton
- Kurt Wilson
- Myles Mordaunt
- Neil Clough
- Tim Stillwell
- Zeeshaan Shah
Jason appointed Neil Clough as sub-team leader which he may have regretted as later Neil was pretty critical of Jason.
The teams’ first activity was to identify what was in the container. It all sounded saleable stuff: high visibility jackets, bottled water, cat litter, lucky cat toys (which waved when powered by a battery) and union jack mugs. The boys unloaded their 1,920 bottles of french mineral water (80 cases) in one lot to a coach company. The girls made more of a meal of it, selling 48 bottles to an all night pub. So only 1,872 bottles to go. They did manage to hit a diner and sell the rest for £50 more than the boys. Leah Totton impressed in the girls sub-team.
The girls struggled to sell their lucky cats. Sophie showed a lack of sales skills as she struggled to sell to a Chinese supermarket and Natalie stepped in to close the sale. Jaz had split the team in two; Sophie Lau, Natalie Panayi and Francesca MacDuff-Varley worked with Jaz. The rest of the girls formed a separate sub-team.
The boys unloaded their “lucky cats” for £3.25 /each in bulk to a casino whilst the girls were still thinking where to sell them. However Myles had the not so brilliant idea of offering to put batteries in for the customer- which took the boys an hour to do, working in an underground car park. Not your best idea Myles.
Back in the boardroom, Neil stood out as an aggressive candidate, criticising Jason, the project leader. When the results were in Team Evolve had sold £1,000.30 compared with £1,167.90 for Team Endeavour. So the boys won the day and headed back to the Apprentice house to be served a gourmet meal. Not before Tim Stillwell started to dig a big hole for himself with Lord Sugar by spontaneously declaring that he had been struggling during the task. Lord Sugar looked a little amazed at the outburst but took pity on him, telling him to shut up. “You’ve won” he explained. Meanwhile the girls made the usual visit to the cafe to pick over what went wrong.
As the sub-team sold far more than the group led by Jaz it was clear most of them were pretty safe. Jaz Ampaw-Farr decided to take Sophie Lau, who she had worked with all day into the boardroom. As Uzma Yakoob from the other sub-team had not sold anything either, Jaz chose her to accompany them into the boardroom.
There was a robust discussion between the three candidates in the boardroom with Sophie Lau dismissing Uzma Yakoob’s contribution with the comment “You didn’t sell anything you were just a logistics girl“. Uzma delivered a great riposte with “I’m a logistics girl? I’m a businesswoman….Darling!“. A brilliant response. Lord Sugar agreed that a logistics role was key to this task and Uzma was safe from a firing. She was slightly lucky as she didn’t listen to Jaz when they were trying to sell the cat litter. Jaz had suggested trying Battersea Dogs Home but was ignored by the sub-team, especially Leah Totton who thought it was too far to go. The boys sold all their cat litter to Battersea. That was the difference between winning and losing the task.
Lord Sugar decided to fire Jaz Ampaw-Farr, commenting “There was terrible mayhem going on, bad organisation, fatal mistakes made. And I do believe your biggest mistake was jumping in to quickly (to be project manager)“. It was the right decision as Jaz just didn’t get to grips with managing the task overall. It was a brave move to volunteer to be project manager but a very foolish one.
So we have fifteen candidates left. Episode 2, Beer, screens tomorrow night at 9pm on BBC One.