MCS champions inclusive apprenticeships


15 February 2024

Image – From left to right: Dave Banner, Helpdesk Team Lead, Mia Charlton, Business Administration Apprentice, Sarah Howard, Head of People & Culture and Saskia Robinson, Digital Communications Apprentice.


National Apprenticeship Week 2024, took place from 5 to 11 February 2024, it set out to shine a spotlight on the transformative power of apprenticeships and celebrates the value, benefit and opportunity that they bring.

One of the themes, 'Apprenticeships for All', demonstrates inclusivity – proving apprenticeships are accessible to everyone, regardless of age, sector, level, or background and they lead to successful and fulfilling careers. In celebration of this, and leading by example, MCS is shedding light on its diverse apprenticeship initiatives within the organisation.

In the past year, MCS has actively supported four members of the team through various apprenticeships. Sarah Howard our Head of People & Culture is currently undertaking her CIPD level 5 Associate Diploma People Management Apprenticeship, Mia Charlton our Business Administration Apprentice, Saskia Robinson in our Communications team is completing her apprenticeship in Digital Communications and our Helpdesk Team Lead, David Banner, also recently completed his Leadership and Management Apprenticeship, earning a distinction. 

Mia Charlton, 17 began her 12-month Business Administration apprenticeship with MCS in September 2023 describing her journey she said, “I was near the end of my full-time course at Warrington and Vale Royal College, when my tutor encouraged me to consider learning while I earn with an apprenticeship. I’d done some part-time work with MCS around my studies, and they agreed to support me make the move into a full-time apprenticeship with them. I loved the idea that it was a route for me to access a career I am highly passionate about, whilst simultaneously continuing my education.


Mia works in the Compliance & Enforcement Team and added, “They are all so supportive of my apprenticeship and help me in any way they can with my work. My apprenticeship links perfectly with my role at MCS, as the tasks I am required to do include things like data analysis, project management, record, document production, and IT which are used in my day-to-day office life. This gives me lots of opportunities to put what I have learnt into practice, and to develop it even further.”


Saskia Robinson, 21 embarked on her level 3 Junior Content Creator Apprenticeship in April 2023 she said, “Balancing work and college work can be challenging at times, especially when one feels more pressing, you can easily let one take priority and set you back in the other. However, with effective time management and organisation, it is certainly achievable. I’m learning so many different aspects of digital marketing, from video-editing on multiple platforms to the importance of keyword research when planning content, there isn’t a day that I don’t feel my skills and knowledge expanding. I believe my apprenticeship is providing me with valuable insights and hands-on experience that align well with my future career goals, as the world of digital marketing grows, I want to grow with it. I am excited to continue to learn more about both the green sector and to develop my abilities in digital communications further.”


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David Banner joined MCS back in 2019 as a Helpdesk Analyst. Two years into his career, Dave was given the opportunity to complete a Leadership and Management Apprenticeship, to help support him transition into a more senior role in leading the MCS Helpdesk Team.


At the end of the 2023, Dave completed his apprenticeship and is now using the skills to lead his team of 14. David said, “For me, the most rewarding part of my experience as an apprentice was being able to put into practice what I was learning on the course, in particular understanding the different ways in which I can engage with my team – not one person is the same and so different leadership styles often need to be adopted to get the best out of my people. Balancing work and study was the most challenging element but work let me take off one-day a week for studying.

I think using an apprenticeship allows a company to grow and develop talent internally. The course can provide learnings that will enable the apprentice to develop, and the company can provide the setting to put those learnings into practice – this dynamic allowed me to see what would and wouldn’t work for me in terms of management styles and tools.” 


Sarah Howard, age 36 has progressed quickly at MCS and now leads the People and Culture team at MCS, she embarked on her CIPD level 5 Associate Diploma People Management Apprenticeship and said: “Returning to the same college that I went to as a 16-year-old was a little intimidating! I opted to study as an apprentice for the level 5 qualification as the course is supported by additional tasks that ensure you have the right knowledge, skills and behaviours to succeed in the workplace.

The support from MCS has been incredible. I’ve maintained my full-time day-to-day job, along with juggling being a part-time student, a wife, and a mum. It has had its challenges but if I can do it, anybody can.”

As the green sector's demand for skilled professionals continues to rise, apprenticeships are positioned as a vital contributor to meeting the UK government's net-zero targets by 2050. By nurturing talent internally through apprenticeships, companies like MCS are playing a crucial role in shaping a sustainable workforce for the future.