The Apprentice: Learning with Sir Alan and the bossy badger

Title The Apprentice
Case studies on sales and negotiating skills
Format DVD package, workbooks and presentation slides
Price £995 purchase, £299 rental
From Video Arts
Contact www.videoarts.com Tel: 020 7400 4800

If you have been pining for the bossy Badger and ex-checkout girl Michelle Dewberry, who won the race to be Sir Alan Sugar’s protegee, then pine no more. Video Arts has packaged key moments of TV hit The Apprentice into a three-part training series, enabling the corporate training audience to learn from the mistakes of the suited wannabes.

I watched the first title of the three-part series, Case studies in sales and negotiation, which claims to be an entertaining way to teach staff the skills mentioned.

It focuses on the decisions the apprentices made in real-life business situations and the consequences of their actions. The case studies are three edited episodes of the series and they look at three of the tasks the teams tackled to test their selling skills: property letting, car selling and business-to-business sales.

As these case studies are basically what we have already seen on TV, they share the same characteristics – fast paced, engaging and very lucid. The support material has similar virtues: there is plenty of information for professional trainers on setting up the resources to suit their needs and advice on how participants should prepare for the session.

An experienced trainer would be able to dip into the materials and mould them to their session requirements. A line manager or less confident trainer could use the programmes as they stand, backed up by later sections in the workbook that spell out the principles of sales and negotiating skills, or follow a session plan suggested by Video Arts.

Part of the charm of training films is that they employ plenty of signposting. The viewer knows when a learning point is on the horizon and what to do with it. The Apprentice is no different, but edges its fictitious forerunners, starring Dawn French or Hugh Laurie, because the protagonists are in real-life situations. And, because they are competing against each other and so have to learn quickly to succeed and survive, the viewer is engaged at a deeper level.

Video Arts exploits this realism to great effect: both the workbook and the film point out specific examples of the participants’ gloriesand failures.

Relevance? four out of five

Interactivity? four out of five

Value for money? five out of five

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