Crayford business shows the value of hiring an apprentice

PUBLISHED: 11:22 19 December 2013 | UPDATED: 14:03 19 December 2013

Director Ragbhir Sandhu works with his apprentice Stephen Barrett

Director Ragbhir Sandhu works with his apprentice Stephen Barrett


With you friends away at university you could be forgiven for feeling like you were missing out on all the fun after starting an apprenticeship in Crayford.

But Stephen Barrett, of Greenwhich, says he does not regret his decision a year ago to start working for Mobile Bar Hire in Thomas Road - a company which supplies drinks, staff and the bar itself to events across the country.

Fresh out of school, Mr Barrett struggled for six months to find employment with companies often citing a lack of experience.

He says: “I was looking for a job for around six months and I was getting nowhere – I did not feel that great.

“I would go into an interview and the company would tell me that I did not have enough experience and give the job to someone else.”

But Mr Barrett was snapped up by Mobile Bar Hire.

The company came second out of 84 companies in South London’s Best Business for Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism.

“It has been crazy so much amazing stuff has happened to me,” adds Mr Barrett. “I have gone from an apprentice to a full-time member of staff.

“My boss Ragbhir Sandhu has been amazing. He has given me loads of different opportunities and loads of responsibilities from the moment I arrived.” Mr Sandhu, 40, of East Hill, Dartford, says he was no different when he entered the business world after finishing school.

“I have not got any degrees, A-Levels or any ‘wow’ qualifications,” says Mr Sandhu. “When youngsters walk through the door the first thing they are asked is “what experience do you have?”

“We pride ourselves on giving them as much experience as possible.”

Before taking on Mr Barrett, the company sourced students seeking work experience from schools in Northfleet, Dartford and Wilmington.

Mr Barrett is the company’s first apprentice. Before taking him on, the company sourced students seeking work experience from schools in Northfleet, Dartford and Wilmington.

Having seen how successful apprentices can be, Mr Sandhu said he will be holding interviews in January for next year’s hopeful.

Mr Barrett’s responsibilities include, keeping the website up-to-date each day, taking incoming calls into the office, and the bookings.

Even though his current position is an administrative one he says he would not change it for any other.

“I never expected to be kept on [as a member of staff] but it has been amazing,” says Mr Barrett. “I would recommend anyone to look for an apprenticeship.”

In 2012, Boris Johnson paid the company a visit and invented the “Bexley Breeze Block” cocktail. The blue drink has since been sold 2,000 times at events which Mobile Bar Hire have attended.

For information about how to apply for Mobile Bar Hire’s 2014 apprenticeship, call 08454 68 68 88.

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