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David Barlow Co-Founder
of Barlows


David Barlow Co-Founder of Barlows UK LTD and founder of Clifford College receives MBE for services to apprenticeships and business

David Barlow has been awarded a Queen’s Honour in the Birthday Honours List for his work with apprenticeships and business both in the North West and nationally, and for his promotion of skills training across Cheshire and Warrington.

“I am deeply honoured to receive this award for my work training young people. There is no doubt that if you’re taking on a 16 year old they are going to need more support. I believe you must really care about the young people you bring in and be interested in them. Get to know them personally, build a bond and retain that bond all the way through their early professional life. Business leaders have a responsibility to give young people the best start in life. ” David Barlow

For over 40 years, David has championed high quality apprenticeship training. At age 24 he pursued a career in teaching, it was here that he realised that the standard of electrical training could be improved. At the age of 30, when his father became unwell, he joined his brother John in the family business, Barlows (UK) Ltd, and here he began putting in place measures to improve the standards of electrical training. In 1980, in order to expand, David invested in apprenticeships – a strategy that became embedded in the culture of the business. Today he has 5 City & Guilds training colleges nationally, which focus on apprenticeship training. He has built a team of tutors to train Barlows’ own apprentices and the apprentices for 50 other firms. He has for many years encouraged other businesses to give young people a chance through craft, technician or graduate apprenticeships.

“I did work hard because for the first time I had a teacher that engaged me, David made everything he said interesting and informative and I was able to focus on a subject that I found exciting to learn.” Barlows Apprentice

David’s interest and desire to improve the quality of standard in the electrical industry has led to his involvement in several voluntary electrical committees, first in the North West and subsequently nationwide. He was invited to join SummitSkills in 2013, the standard setting organisation for Building Services in England. He was one of five companies invited to form the Electrotechnical Trailblazer in England, which had a vital role in developing the new syllabus for Apprenticeship Standards, which was approved by the Government in 2015. David Barlow is currently Chair of the Electrotechnical Discipline Employer Group, which monitors and evaluates the standard nationwide.

“I would not like to try and put a figure on the number of young people who have benefited from David’s contribution, which must be enormous. However, there can be no doubt that many are living better lives because of the opportunities David has been instrumental in developing.” Keith Marshall OBE National Apprenticeship Service.

Educated at Chester Grammar School and the University of Liverpool, David was awarded the Cheshire Business Leaders Award 2014, Cheshire Business Person of the Year 2015 and the High Sheriff of Chester Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Economy of Chester and the Business Community 2017. In 2015 he was also presented with an Honorary Degree from the University of Chester.

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