A Day in the Life with Alex Hughes of MCS

Alex Hughes, scheme manager at MCS, tells us about a typical day in her life in the renewables industry.

Alex Hughes of MCS

Name: Alex Hughes
Organisation: MCS
Job title: Scheme Manager
Location in the UK: Sci-tech Daresbury, near Warrington

Your company/business in one line:
MCS is the standards organisation for small-scale domestic renewable energy and heating across the UK and is at the heart of the decarbonisation of UK homes.

My alarm goes off at …
7am if I am working in the office; however, I sometimes hit the snooze button (any opportunity to steal some extra sleep).

The first thing I do each day is …
grab a coffee and look at my to-do list to get focused for the day ahead and see what tasks are most time-sensitive.

I prepare for the day ahead by …
firstly check my calendar so that I can plan my day around any scheduled meetings 

I can’t leave the house without …
my handbag which has all my essentials in it! 

My typical day…
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, I have tried to spend as much time as possible in the office, as I enjoy the office working environment and being around my colleagues. For the days that I am working in the office, I start my commute to work at about 7:50am, usually arriving at the office at 8:30am if the traffic behaves. 

Each working day varies, depending on what meetings I’ve got on, so the first thing I do each day is checking my calendar to see what meetings I have planned. I then check my to-do list and get organised by blocking out any time in my calendar to focus on a particular project.

To be as productive as possible, I try to complete quick tasks first and then spend longer free time focusing on more strategic projects. 

As scheme manager for MCS, my role is quite broad, so I’m often working on larger strategic projects related to scheme changes or supporting the rest of the team by answering any scheme/certification-related questions. 

A big part of my role is looking after the scheme-related data insights, so I often find myself in meetings with organisations such as local authorities, think tanks and universities who are interested in the installation data held in the MCS installation database.

Also, as I oversee scheme delivery, which is operated on our behalf by external certification bodies, I often email our contacts at certification bodies to help resolve any queries. These organisations are mainly located in the UK, but some are based overseas!

As I’m relatively new in my position, I also find speaking with certification bodies a valuable opportunity to learn more about the sector.

My most memorable work moment …

This has to be being promoted to my current position at MCS. 

MCS champions its talented women to forge long-term, lasting careers in renewables by creating dedicated routes to senior roles and encouraging the development needed to get there. As a young woman in the early stages of a renewables career, MCS invested significantly in my learning and development.

I was enrolled in the Future Leaders course – I first started as a helpdesk analyst in 2019 – which has equipped me with the tools needed to be an effective leader in net zero economies. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far and excited for the next step in my career. 

The worst part of my job … 

The best part of my job …
is working in the interesting, exciting and fast-growing renewable energy sector, and knowing that I’m part of a wider collective trying to offset the impact of climate change, a problem that affects us all.  

Currently, women make up over 60% of the MCS team – something I’m particularly proud to be part of as this isn’t the norm for the growing renewables sector. 

I relax after work by …
going to the gym to help me switch off and get some exercise after a busy day at the office. 

On my bedside table is …
a book or two, a candle, and a photo frame of my best friends and me. 

The last thing I do each day is …
read my latest book before bed, catch up on any messages and check my phone alarm is set for the next day.

I’m normally in bed by …
typically 10.30pm, depending on how tired I am!

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