A group of STA travel agents appeared in the latest episode of The Apprentice where they experienced a corporate away day planned by the contestants.

The day was held aboard the Belmond British Pullman train, where the agents experienced food, drink and entertainment laid on by the contestants as part of their task to plan an away day for a corporate client.

Tim Fryer, UK country manager at STA Travel, said: “The Apprentice team wanted a travel company to be part of the corporate away day task and they thought that we offered something a bit different.

“There were plenty of obvious blunders that you can see on the show that you would not expect or want if you were paying for a corporate away day. A few of them really put the hard work in and made it a great day and the staff at STA have a great time wherever they are.”

But Fryer added: “I wouldn’t be hiring any of them anytime soon to run an away day for me.”

He said the project manager misread the situation and pitched a luxury event, which STA “weren’t necessarily after”.

“We aren’t about luxury,” he added. “[After the initial meeting] they stood outside the Victoria store and said that STA is the ‘antithesis of luxury’.

“We’re proud of getting people out there and having a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. We’re not necessarily about luxury, it doesn’t mean we don’t offer it but that’s not our core.”

Twelve STA agents went on the away day on the Pullman train. Places were not offered based on top sales, but to those “who provide great customer service and represented brand values”, from store managers to apprentices.

Fryer added: “We told them what was going to happen when they got to the store and everyone was really excited. Then we went across to Victoria station and boarded the train and then the rest is what was seen on the show.”

Gareth Williams, assistant manager of STA Bath was on the away day. He said: “It was really cool, we got emailed and it was very hush-hush. We were told not to wear spots and to dress smartly. I did not expect it at all, it was such a cool shock. As someone who watches The Apprentice, I never expected to be on it. No one thought we would be on national TV, I thought I was being fired.

“It was an honour to be selected out of the entire company in the UK and its great to be recognised by STA.”