13 April 2023
International Women’s Day was held in March and with that in mind Heat Pumps Today are very pleased to highlight the journeys of 2 successful women from the heat pump industry within this issue.
Leah Robson, Co-Director, Your Energy Your Way
How did you get into the heat pump industry?
After having children, I wanted to do something different, something that would align more with my personal values. At the time, we were having solar panels installed on our roof and I somehow convinced the installer to hire me on the spot. Before I had children, I was an IT consultant where I spent majority of my time talking to people about buying and installing complex IT solutions, I knew I could do the same with renewables and low carbon heating.
I went from knowing nothing about the building industry to spending six years working on new build and retrofit heat pump and solar projects.
What was your first job?
My first job in this industry was as described above working for an installer to manage installations of heat pumps and solar panels and the like. One of my first projects was actually installing Samsung heat pumps in a block of flats. I was (and still am) very passionate about helping customers make the switch to low carbon heating and the best part of the job is when you feel the heat coming into the radiators from the heat pump – I still enjoy that today.
What does your current role involve?
I set up Your Energy Your Way in 2018 and my business is now a very successful female-led, Surrey-based business that installs bespoke renewable energy and low carbon heating systems for homes and businesses across the South East.
I work with my team to ensure we are doing everything we can to get more women into the construction and renewables and low carbon heating industry. We are a social enterprise aimed at promoting gender equality in the industry and facilitating the adoption of energy solutions from renewable sources and reducing carbon output. Our key objectives include delivering high quality installations and maintenance services for renewable energy and low carbon solutions; seeking to inform and educate about both renewable energy and low carbon solutions and opportunities for women in construction; and building an organisation that will be able to train and support female apprentices entering the construction industry and gaining skills in renewable energy and low carbon
What do you see as the challenges facing the industry?
I think the need to improve diversity and the work to improve gender inequality remain some of the main challenges the industry faces. With the UK government’s goal to become Net Zero, the sector needs to accelerate progress in order to shift perceptions towards low carbon heating and further financial support and industry supporting initiatives are needed.
What would you say to other women who are considering coming into the heat pump industry?
Don’t be afraid to try something new and try an alternative path – the most important thing is to follow your passions and don’t let anything stop that. We need to get women excited about a career in renewables and low carbon heating, there is an enormous opportunity for people of all backgrounds to take advantage of this varied and hugely rewarding career path.
Outside of work
I love gardening when I get time and have an allotment which is sometimes just a field of weeds due to work commitments, but I’m hopeful about growing lots of fruit and veg there this year.
I’m a keen hill walker and think anyone who enjoys walking up mountains for fun would make a great heat pump installer, as you are frequently out in all weathers dealing with the challenges that are thrown at you.