North West women driving forward small-scale renewables

Meet the women from six different decades working across Warrington-based company MCS who are driving forward the small-scale renewable industry. 

Photo by James Stack, Stack Media From left to right, Lisa Cooke, 30s, Sheila Burns, 60s, Carol Davies, 50s, Tara France, 20s, Mia Charlton, teens, and Vicky Johnson, 40s.

Standards organisation MCS celebrates the contribution of its 68% female workforce ahead of International Women’s Day. 

In an undeniably male-dominated sector, MCS, the UK’s quality assurance scheme for small-scale renewable energy and heating, is a leading employer for women, with more than two in three of its team being women. 

MCS, located at Sci-Tech Daresbury in Cheshire, has recently recorded 2023 as their best year yet for certified renewable installations, and to date, have now certified nearly 1.8 million small-scale renewable installations across the UK. 

Cultivating female talent

Lisa Cooke, operations and communications director at MCS said: “Our sector is undeniably male-dominated, but we’re proud to have a workforce that is 68% female, putting us at the forefront of changing this narrative by inspiring inclusion both within our business and the wider sector. Our CEO, Ian is a real champion of cultivating female talent, recognising the contribution that they make. 

“MCS inspires inclusion by promoting equal opportunities and fostering a diverse and supportive environment. Our leadership team demonstrates a clear commitment to drive an inclusive environment for all employees, and we’ve also worked hard to develop a range of benefits that support work-life balance; for example, I work flexibly around my son. 

MCS CEO, Ian Rippin, added, “At MCS, we see International Women’s Day as a way of celebrating not only the inspirational women we have working here, but also those across the sector that we work with – all helping to drive forward the uptake of small-scale renewables in the UK.

“We’ve got women from six different decades working across our business, from our technical manager and head of people to those who are just starting out their career as an apprentice.

Let’s hear from the women from across six different generations who work within the MCS team: 

• Sheila Burns, senior helpdesk analyst  

• Carol Davies, helpdesk analyst  

• Vicky Johnson, programme manager  

• Lisa Cooke, operations and communications director  

• Tara France, communications assistant  

• Mia Charlton, business administration apprentice 

What is your role at MCS? 

Sheila: As Senior Helpdesk Analyst, I support the rest of the Helpdesk team with calls, systems and everything in between! 

Carol: I am a helpdesk analyst and assist contractors and consumers with all types of certification queries. 

Vicky: I am programme manager at MCS, helping lead the transformational changes that the Scheme is currently going through. I lead a team of Project Managers who support project work across the business. 

Lisa: I’m operations and communications director and a member of the Senior Leadership Team. My role is broad and spans across leading our communications, Helpdesk and scheme management functions. 

Tara: My role is communications assistant, which means I spend the majority of my time writing blogs, press releases, and crafting communications to reach our 4,500-strong certified contractor base. 

Mia: I am currently completing my level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship with MCS. I work across the business, supporting with a range of tasks, I enjoy participating in meetings.  

MCS is 68% female; how do you feel about being part of a strong team of women? 

Sheila: For me, it’s a revelation but steadily becoming a trend within the business. More businesses are engaging and embracing the female-added value, which has not been as prevalent in the past. 

Tara: Empowered. Multiple teams across our business, including my team, are entirely made up of women and it’s so empowering to be part of. We need to acknowledge the positive role that women are playing in the industry, which can empower more women to join.  

Vicky: I love working with a team of strong women who are professional, knowledgeable, and inspiring. Us women hold each other up, and everyone at MCS is massively encouraging and supportive of bringing more women into the sector. 

Lisa: I am incredibly proud of our workforce – a shining example of diversity and inclusion with 68% representation of talented women. 

Carol: The women at MCS are incredible role models, and I am very proud to work alongside them all.  

Mia: I feel like MCS is at the forefront of empowering women in renewables. I feel so proud to work with a team of strong women who are working together to change the industry. 

What advice would you give to women looking or maybe unsure about joining the renewables sector? 

Vicky: Just go for it! We need more women in the sector to bring balance and new perspectives.  

Lisa: Joining the small-scale renewables sector is a rewarding career choice. It should be accessible and understandable to all. I’d advise that they look at the females in our organisation and the diverse roles that they undertake. 

Sheila: Do your research, and you will find that the renewable industry is changing and striving to smash the myths that renewables are just a career for the boys! 

Carol: Since joining MCS, I’ve found that it’s a great working environment for women. There are no divides between anyone here; everyone works as one team.  

Tara: You don’t need a background in renewables to join the industry! Before joining MCS, I had no prior knowledge of anything renewable; I just had a passion and a commitment to learn.  

Mia: The renewable sector is so interesting and different. Before joining MCS, I would have never imagined this would be a career I would have entered, but it is an amazing sector to be in. 

MCS is committed to attracting future female talent into the renewable industry and is paving the way for more female apprenticeships to get involved with their newly launched Low Carbon Heating Technician Apprenticeship. They are already seeing women sign up to get involved and learn transferable green skills whilst future-proofing their careers at the same time.

Please visit see website for more information www.mcscertified.com