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Sarah McCarthy: You can have it all

Thu, 09 February, 2023

Being a mum is not easy. Being a mum, while having a career is challenging. But being a mum, while having a career, and returning to formal education, is downright impressive, as such we introduce Sarah McCarthy. Sarah joined TWI Certification Ltd (TWI CL) as a senior certification officer in June 2022, after working for TWI Ltd (the parent company of TWI CL) for over 20 years. We sat down to talk to Sarah about her career, why she decided to join TWI CL at this time, and about her decision to return to further education.

While at TWI Ltd, Sarah was heavily involved in the UK Regional Technology Transfer Initiatives, a part of which provided funding for applicable companies to assist them with their preparations to seek certification in compliance with standards such as ISO 3834 or EN 1090. This work brought her into regular contact with TWI CL’s Company Certification team, and having seen that they were “highly motivated and customer focused people who clearly enjoyed their jobs” applying for a position was a no-brainer. Although the team’s rapport and attitude is what initially drew Sarah to consider the role, it wasn’t the only thing. Having completed two-thirds of her Senior Leader Apprenticeship (provided through Aston University and including the award of an MSc in Engineering Leadership and Management), and facing the start of her final project and dissertation, Sarah saw an opportunity to truly put the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours learned through her apprenticeship to good use. She tells us “it was great to join the company at such an interesting time – with the team expanding to meet the growing client base” putting into practice learnings, but also providing a prime opportunity to utilise her dissertation and final project in a way that would be immediately beneficial for a company undergoing substantial growth.

Clearly Sarah does not regret her decision to return to education, and is already utilising her learnings, but what prompted her to do so in the first place? Sarah “paused” her career when she decided to have a family, and switched her focus to their growth and development over her own corporate progression. However, now that her family is older, she is redirecting some of her energies into her own career, and decided that the best way to kick-start it was through education and professional development. Participating in formal education, when already trying to balance between family and work commitments, isn’t easy, so when Sarah saw the opportunity to do so through an apprenticeship she jumped at it. “It’s all about balance” she says. Apprenticeships provide time within working hours to attend lectures and work on assignments, which is further supported by time at home for self-study, allowing Sarah to both focus on her career and family without either suffering the full brunt of the time needed to further her education.

But what of her career within TWI CL? Well, as to be expected, Sarah is progressing well, having already transitioned from looking after reassessments to working with new clients at the start of their certification process and supporting them to achieve their goals. A role that Sarah enjoys immensely as she gets the opportunity to impart to customers the value of certification, and how it “demonstrates [their] commitment to professionalism, upholding industry standards, and continued learning”. So what advice does she have for new customers? Take certification “to the core of your business, so it pumps through the veins of your people and the entire company, giving a strong heartbeat of commitment. This will drive continuous improvement, and will ensure that the organisation gets the best return on their investment through greater quality, customer satisfaction, and business opportunities.

So when Sarah isn’t being a mum, a senior certification officer or a student – what does she have time left to do? She volunteers! Sarah is the Secretary for a local charity – The CREAMER Fund - which is dedicated to enhancing wellbeing and improving access to medical care through the provision of facilities, equipment, and support services.


More information about the company certifications available through TWI CL can be found on the website.

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