Talented young electricians were honoured at a recent electrical contractor’s first ever training awards.
Barlows Electrical, which is based in the North West with branches in Chadderton, Greater Manchester and Malpas, Cheshire, held an awards evening to celebrate the achievements of eight electricians who have passed through Barlows’ dedicated training centre.
The business, which works on domestic and commercial projects across the UK, is also celebrating being named as Best Medium Employer of the Year at the North West Regional Training Awards. Barlows will now go through to the National Training Awards final in Birmingham on 14th November.
Barlows launched its own skills hub three years ago, with 65 apprenticeships now currently in training at the centre. Most are apprentices on Barlows’ books although other companies are now using the centre’s award winning courses and facilities to train up their staff.
A special ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ was presented on the night to 23 year old Tiffany Gibson from Wem, who was the first female to ever qualify as an electrician at Barlows.
Gibson was presented with an award by Stuart Doggrell of Merseyside-based renewable technology specialist Stiebel Eltron - a key supplier for Barlows Electrical’s green energy division.
Gibson, who joined the business aged 16 straight from school, is Barlows’ only female electrician and one of only a handful of women electricians in the North West.
She commented, “I had always wanted to be an electrician and I was delighted when Barlows gave me an interview. I went on to an apprenticeship which at the time was run through another provider, and qualified three years ago. Since then I have worked on a range of different projects, from small residential to full commercial fit-outs.
“I have never met another female electrician and I have definitely faced certain challenges in the industry. Barlows have always been very supportive though and treated me exactly the same as all the other apprentices and employees.
“However there have been benefits - for example due to my size I am able to fit fixtures in enclosed spaces that some of my colleagues can’t. Sometimes I am also called out to jobs that may be where a single woman or elderly person is living, and they feel a lot more comfortable with my presence in their home.”
David Barlow, training and development director at Barlows Electrical, said, “We are very proud of our Training Centre and how many successful young electricians we have brought through since launching three years ago.
”As a company we are very keen on taking on 16 and 17 year old apprentices, training them up to our standards and values, and very importantly giving them a job at the end.
“Many of our senior managers served their time as apprentices and we see our young people as the future of our company. The Training Centre is an invaluable tool to develop the skills of our workforce and nurture a feeling of inspiration, loyalty and hard work.
“This is the first time we have held an awards evening and it is fantastic to celebrate the achievements of so many talented young people.
“We are delighted that Stuart from Stiebel Eltron could present Tiffany’s award, as green energy is a real growth area for the business and an opportunity we are strongly looking to capitalise on. This year we secured MCS accreditation for Solar PV installations and we have almost completed MCS accreditation to install heat pumps.”
Doggrell added, “To be the first female apprentice to qualify through Barlows’ programme in their history is an immense achievement which Tiffany should be very proud of. Stiebel Eltron is an equal opportunities employer with a number of hard working, talented female employees in both our technical and sales departments, and we can appreciate the resistance which women sometimes face in this industry.”