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Coast & Country apprentices take on the apprentice-style challenge


Jane smith

New Member
Coast & Country Chief Executive Iain Sim took on the mantle of Lord Sugar when he challenged two teams of apprentices to compete against each other and make money for the Company charities in four days from an initial stake of £50.

The Apprentice-style task involved 16 apprentices split into two teams - 'Team Connection' and 'Not for Profit' – with each nominating a project manager.

The teams went head-to-head in a series of tasks that saw their business skills, creativity and decision-making tested to the maximum.

The teams were mentored and shadowed by two of the Company’s Senior Managers Jayne McBride and Anthony Green.

Acting as the eyes and ears of Coast & Country’s tough taskmaster Iain Sim, they reported back to him on each of the team’s strengths and weaknesses.

After an initial boardroom briefing, the teams held brainstorming sessions where they came up with a variety of money-making plans including washing cars, selling logs and delivering coffee and bacon sandwiches to colleagues at their desks.

Coast & Country
held its exciting contest as its contribution to National Apprenticeship Week.

At the end of the week-long challenge, the two teams of eight were called back into the board room, where Iain Sim grilled them on how they have performed and decided who should be declared the losers.

Team Connection was ‘hired’ having raised £1,450 for charity.

The ‘fired’ team raised £1
,055, and as the losing team received a further grilling in the boardroom, but it was all for fun, as both teams received cinema vouchers and chocolates as a thank you for all their hard work.
Iain Sim, Chief Executive of Coast & Country, one of the largest regeneration and housing companies in the North East, said: “Coast & Country is committed to supporting Apprenticeships as it is vital that organisations maintain a skilled and trained workforce to meet their future needs.

“Taking on the role of Lord Sugar, putting our apprentices to the test and being able to utter that famous phrase ‘You’re Fired!’ was all great fun.

“The Apprentice-style challenge provided an exciting opportunity for our apprentices to build their entrepreneurial skills and work as a team to develop a business strategy and have a taste of the business world.”

“However, this initiative also had a serious message – that apprentices are bright and resourceful, and have the initiative to work on their own, but are equally strong as team players.

“Coast & Country believes that putting our apprentices through their paces would demonstrate to others how talented they are, as well as highlighting the benefits of recruiting apprentices.”

Those taking part are involved in a wide range of apprenticeships including plumbing, plastering, painting, business administration and joinery.

Adam Pearce, who is training to be an electrician, said: “During our training, our work and knowledge is regularly evaluated. However, it was still quite daunting to be put through your paces in the style of The Apprentice.

“We were all determined to rise to the challenge and turn the £50 we were given into as big a sum as possible.”

The money raised will be donated to Coast & Country’s chosen charities for 2012, which are Zoe’s Place, the Great North Air Ambulance and Cancer Research.

Fourteen of the sixteen apprentices who took part in the enterprise challenge are studying at Redcar & Cleveland College, which has been working closely with Coast & Country to provide educations and skills training for many years.

Gary Groom, Principal of Redcar & Cleveland College, said: "I think this is a great way for Coast & Country to inspire young people to be enterprising and get them working together as a team. We have a very close working relationship with Coast & Country and I know that our students that have been involved have really enjoyed the experience. Young people really value it when employers go the extra mile to help them develop their skills and I'd like to congratulate everyone involved."

National Apprenticeship Week aims to:
• Engage and persuade employers of the advantages of employing and supporting apprentices in their workplace
• Highlight the talent and skills of apprentices to employers and the wider public
• Promote the range of Apprenticeships available in different sectors and the progression routes available to potential apprentices.