A MALPAS businessman who has placed youth training at the heart of his work in south Cheshire and north Shropshire is celebrating after he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

David Barlow, who owns Barlows Electricals, was awarded the honour last weekend for his work with young people through apprenticeships both in the North West and nationally, and for his promotion of skills training across Cheshire and Warrington.

David, who is no stranger to receiving awards for training at Barlows, admitted he was both delighted and shocked to find out about the award.

“I am deeply honoured to receive this award for my work training young people,” he said.

“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.”

For more than 40 years, David has championed high-quality apprenticeship training.

Aged 24, he pursued a career in teaching and it was here that he realised that the standard of electrical training could be improved, and when he reached the age of 30, when his father became unwell, he joined his brother John in the family business, Barlows (UK) Ltd.

Here he began putting in place measures to improve the standards of electrical training.

In 1980, in order to expand, he invested in apprenticeships – a strategy that became embedded in the culture of the business.

He has set up five City & Guilds training colleges nationally, which focus on apprenticeship training and 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.

Keith Marshall OBE, from the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “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.”

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.

David 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.

He is currently chair of the Electrotechnical Discipline Employer Group, which monitors and evaluates the standard nationwide.

Educated at Chester Grammar School and the University of Liverpool, David Barlow 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.