My career journey with MCS

At MCS, we value our employees and always want to provide them with the utmost support in developing their careers, as well as retaining our company culture as this is important to us. 

Sarah joined the team as one of the first members of staff in 2019, as our Helpdesk Manager, and has since become MCS’s first-ever Head of People & Culture. We spoke to Sarah about choosing to upskill, completing an apprenticeship, and the role of MCS in developing her career.  


Sarah Howard headshot

The growth of MCS

I started with MCS in January 2019 as the Helpdesk Manager, a huge part of this role included creating the Helpdesk Team. Following the development of the company, I saw the need to dedicate resources to maintain our culture as we grew and supported proposals to create a team with that goal. We now have a People Team, leading me to my role as Head of People & Culture, which I am so proud of!   

When I took on the job as Helpdesk Manager in December 2018, I was employee number four, now we are at 65 employees and already have plans to expand further. With the launch of our New Scheme next year, we are making new functions to support our expanding remit under the new scheme after the consultation.  

What began as a small company in 2018, has seen us create multiple departments across the company, providing a range of opportunities within the green sector. Within MCS we have the Helpdesk, Compliance, Scheme Operations, Standards, Communications, Finance, Market Development, and finally, our People Team. Although I am no longer a part of the Helpdesk Team, it is still in very good hands.  Our Helpdesk Team Lead, David Banner, has undergone a management apprenticeship and now leads the largely increased Helpdesk Team. You can read about his journey here.  


Feeling supported to upskill

As a smaller team, MCS would outsource Human Resources. In early 2022, with a personal interest in Human Resources, I approached my manager about bringing ‘HR’ internally. This felt like the right time to ensure, as we expanded as a team, we kept our great company culture. I believe that fostering a positive culture within the company is essential, to enhance employee engagement, but also to drive success for the company. MCS was fully onboard with my suggestion to bring HR in-house and has since supported me in providing upskilling opportunities required for this role.  

Although I gained experience managing a team within MCS, to take on a role in Human Resources, I wanted to expand my knowledge to ensure that I was doing the best job I could for both myself and my colleagues.Therefore, I enrolled at Warrington Vale Royal College to complete my CIPD L3 in People Practice, which I completed earlier this year. Since then, I have continued my learning and have taken the next step to complete a CIPD L5 Associate Diploma People Management apprenticeship. This is to ensure that I have all the skills required to confidently lead my department at MCS and to provide everyone with the support and guidance needed throughout their career at MCS. 

 MCS is supporting me with my current apprenticeship, allowing me time away from the office each week to attend college as a student. The apprenticeship that I am taking is classroom-based, supported by additional time to complete my assignments. Juggling work and study can prove tricky, but it’s all about knowing how to prioritise and making sure your workload is planned accordingly. 


Working in the green sector

Why wouldn’t you want to work in the green sector? My previous role was working with waste management, supporting commercial companies in disposing of their waste in the best viable way for the environment. So, the opportunity to continue supporting the green industry in a different position was exciting and a new challenge.  

People often presume when you say green jobs, it is only associated with technical roles such as design engineers and heat pump installers, but a green job is anything within the sector. Whatever job it may be, from Communications to Finance, it has a place in the industry to help make a difference. As the climate disaster continues, the need for people in the sector is only growing. You can view job opportunities and access resources and career information on IEMA’s Green Careers Hub here.

Although it can feel as though it is too late to upskill, you must be willing to make the first push to do so, I am not the usual candidate to be undergoing an apprenticeship, but here I am. Research and talk to others about your ideas, it’s never too late – I work full time, and I’m a part-time student with a husband and a 13-year-old son. If I can do it, anybody can!   

Within MCS we are 67% female, so you can very easily forget that the industry we work in is male-dominated. We have so many strong women working at MCS, and a lot of these women you will see out representing our company and the industry as a whole. Our Scheme Manager, Alex Hughes, has recently been short-listed for the Unlock Net Zero Climate Champions List. The ceremony will take place on Thursday 23 November at London ExCel, to announce all the winners- Good luck Alex! 

Visit our Careers Page and follow us on our Social Media platforms to see upcoming career opportunities at MCS.