Contemplating a Career in Health & Safety?

OMS’ People Director, Allison Peasgood, offers some useful advice to service leavers.

How do you actually get started on a career in health and safety and what qualifications are required to make a career in health and safety?

The qualifications that are required to make a career in health and safety are dependent on the type of role that you take. There are many qualifications that are appropriate, but most health and safety practitioners start with the NEBOSH General Certificate qualification (two weeks full time study). A NEBOSH National General Certificate is, in reality, an essential minimum qualification for any full time health and safety job.

The National General Certificate is the most widely held health and safety qualification in the UK and is also recognised internationally. Many people then realise that they want to build on this knowledge and go into more detail in other areas of health and safety, such as Fire or Construction, which is why OMS have developed a number of packages to incorporate different options. Alternatively, people go onto consider the NVQ Level 5, which allows them to obtain Chartered (CMIOSH) status.

What are employers looking for in a health and safety candidate?

Employers look for candidates with personal skills and attributes which fit with the company and role. Those candidates who are keen, interested and have the ability to adapt to different situations and challenges will be the most successful in finding jobs.

Employers are legally obliged to make sure that the people that they employ are ‘competent’. Experience in working in the industry is really useful, but NEBOSH qualifications demonstrate this competence also.

What are the options available for people wanting to gain membership of IOSH – do they have to sit official exams and what is the best sort of training to embark on a career in health and safety?

Corporate membership of IOSH (CMIOSH) is gained through a mix of sitting external exams and acquiring experience. You join IOSH as an affiliate member and then progress through the levels of membership with increasing levels of experience and examination.

With a National General Certificate and five years’ relevant experience you can progress to TechIOSH level. With an NVQ Level 5 and two years’ relevant experience the CMIOSH grade is available after a peer review.

OMS would recommend that you start by trying to gain real practical experience in a health and safety role, similar to where you would like to work. One of their candidates, for example, spent a week with a local environmental health department before they began their studies with OMS and found the experience extremely valuable. You could also ask to get work as an assistant, or a junior consultant.

Any experience is better than none, and it will show a potential employer that you are keen and committed. Any practical experience you can demonstrate will pay dividends when you apply for a job in health and safety.

What kind of things should ELCAS and CTP candidates look for when they are trying to find the best training provider for them?

The best training should be delivered by tutors with a proven ability to teach, a high level of knowledge and the opportunity to teach from real practical experience. At OMS, not only do its tutors teach, but they are also qualified Health and Safety Consultants, who continue to their consultancy roles, alongside their training roles, to ensure they have practical experience to share with delegates.

When choosing a training course candidates should be looking for organisations that:

  • Are an accredited provider that has experience of working with service leavers, dealing with ELCAS and CTP and helping candidates obtain maximum funding for their courses;
  • Are a venue that is designed specifically for training and where you feel comfortable – it’s very difficult to learn when you cannot relax;
  • Are a venue where you have access to further materials and information when you need them;
  • Provide tutors that have recognised teaching qualifications and experience in delivery and practical application;
  • Can demonstrate previous sustained success and excellent pass rates;
  • Use a varied use of getting the information across (i.e. not death by PowerPoint);
  • Provide access to support, and further assistance when doing assignments, before, during and after the course.

For example, OMS offers personal assistance to its delegates throughout their resettlement process and has a vast experience of helping service personnel to obtain ELCAS or CTP funding. OMS ensures candidates select the correct safety training course for them, provides personal tutors for each delegate and delegates can contact the tutor in person, over the phone or electronically at the time of their choice. OMS’ training centre has a modern Training Rooms, which have been designed for enhanced comfort and desk space for our delegates and their pass rates are significantly higher than the national average.

Success Stories

OMS have many success stories, amongst service leavers, of which they are proud. Recently, Barry Wall (TechIOSH) studied with OMS, and his career has since flourished with an initial move into the role of Health and Safety Advisor at Atkins – Highways and Transportation – and now employed by United States Airforce as the Occupational Health and Safety Manager at RAF Lakenheath.

“I cannot recommend OMS enough. The instruction was second to none as was the support from all the staff during my time there. I was made to feel like an old friend whenever I came to stay and any request accommodated with minimum fuss. The training environment was very comfortable and enabled me to relax and learn. As a direct result of my time with OMS I have moved into the Health and Safety industry where I am using the knowledge with positive outcomes daily. Any Service Leaver looking to gain their NEBOSH qualifications should look no further”. Barry Wall.

OMS offer 14 discounted packages for forces funded personnel, either through the ECLAS or Careers Transition route, details are available at: www.oms.uk.com or call their training team on: 01530 833533, or email info@oms.uk.com.