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Chris Walsh  
#1 Posted : 03 April 2018 13:24:15(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Chris Walsh

Looking for some advice regarding switching industries. I'm a recent graduate with 5 mths experiece when I was a student as an EHS Engineer within a Pharmaceutical company. I had planned on going back into Pharma when I graduated but instead i opted for something different. I am currently working as an EHS Engineer for an Engineering company which specialises in mechanical, electrical, GMP cleanrooms and HVAC systems for the Pharma industry.

In some ways it's very similiar to construction. I've been with this company for the last 6mths and I'm afraid that if I spend too long in it that I will be unable to get back into pharma, medical device or any other industry for that matter. Lately I have been thinking about my future ambitions and where I see myself in the next few years. Should I be planning on moving on rather sooner than later?? 

Edited by user 03 April 2018 13:35:58(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Chris Walsh  
#2 Posted : 04 April 2018 20:43:21(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Chris Walsh

Bump
peter gotch  
#3 Posted : 05 April 2018 08:48:48(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Chris

First - without good reason, bumping your message after just a day is not going to do you any favours.

Next, my advice would be get some experience before deciding on what sector you want to move to. BUT, a competent generalist HSE professional should be able to apply their talents to ANY sector.

Chris Walsh  
#4 Posted : 05 April 2018 20:39:31(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Chris Walsh

Peter, Determination is at the forefront here I'm afraid. Your advice is taken on board, BUT is it not true to say that if you spend a considerable amount of time in the one sector i.e. construction for 5yrs, that your skill set and knowledge acquired in the construction sector would be very different to what would be required in the pharmaceutical or manufacturing sector. Also I'd imagine a cv with little or no experience but construction wouldn't be very attractive to an employer either.
Kate  
#5 Posted : 06 April 2018 08:24:25(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

Construction and engineering risks exist in the manufacturing sector too so experience of them is by no means a disadvantage.

thanks 1 user thanked Kate for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 06/04/2018(UTC)
A Kurdziel  
#6 Posted : 06 April 2018 10:19:02(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

You say that you have trained as an “EHS Engineer”. What does that actually mean; what is the qualification? Most H&S professionals have a certain breadth of knowledge, they know something this and a little about that: generally enough to know what their limits are and when they need to bring in specialist advice. What is so specific to pharma from you experience and qualifications?

Pharma needs knowledge of COSHH, possible COMAH. You will need knowledge of PUWER, possibly pressure vessels etc. These are skills and knowledge found outside pharma and relevant in a variety of industries.

Virginia Barton  
#7 Posted : 27 April 2018 11:28:58(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Virginia Barton

I don't know much about pharma but I do know a thing or two about job hopping:) I say listen to your heart. What industry will you most probably shine in? Money, titles don't matter at this time. What matters is if you like what you do and want to learn more and more about it.

Chris Walsh  
#8 Posted : 03 July 2018 21:47:27(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Chris Walsh

Originally Posted by: A Kurdziel Go to Quoted Post
You say that you have trained as an “EHS Engineer”. What does that actually mean; what is the qualification? Most H&S professionals have a certain breadth of knowledge, they know something this and a little about that: generally enough to know what their limits are and when they need to bring in specialist advice. What is so specific to pharma from you experience and qualifications? Pharma needs knowledge of COSHH, possible COMAH. You will need knowledge of PUWER, possibly pressure vessels etc. These are skills and knowledge found outside pharma and relevant in a variety of industries.
I have a Bachelor of honours degree in Occupational Health and Safety. This degree consisted of subjects such as toxicology, biology, physics, chemistry & chemical hazards, environmental pollution sources and water quality, ergonomics and behavioural safety to name a few. EHS Engineer is my title in my role. My question is how long do you spend in a certain industry before you become less desirable to employers in other industries.
peter gotch  
#9 Posted : 04 July 2018 14:39:25(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Plenty of time still - at least a year - in my opinion!

biker1  
#10 Posted : 04 July 2018 14:52:02(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
biker1

I think that changing industries is not so easy as it once was. Back in the day, it happened more frequently, as employers valued a fresh pair of eyes. These days, employers seem to be looking for specific experience in their industry. This should not put you off trying, however, if you think you would be better in a different industry, but just be aware that flitting from one job to another on your CV can put some employers off, so be prepared for awkward questions at interview.

Kate  
#11 Posted : 04 July 2018 14:55:41(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

An interview question I had was "You haven't worked in this industry before.  What would you expect to be different?"

It wasn't an awkward question as I had thought about it and was ready for it.

Hsquared14  
#12 Posted : 10 July 2018 11:13:23(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Hsquared14

I would say you haven't been in a job long enough yet to know if it is what you want or gives you the breadth of experience you are looking for.  I always say to people changing jobs that in the first 6 months you are just working out what the hell you are doing here, then the next 6 months you are starting to work out what you should be doing and settling into the role, then in the next 6 months you start to become really productive.  So I would say not to jump ship quite yet, there's lots more you can learn where you at the moment.  I agree with some of the others too who have pointed out that people who move from job to job too often raise alarm bells in employers' heads and are less attractive in the job market.

Woolf13  
#13 Posted : 10 July 2018 11:40:57(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Woolf13

As people have correctly stated it is not as easy to move diciplines as it once was, which is a pity as a good SHE advisor will adapt, learn and apply their transferable skills to a role.

I can only speak from my experience, but I have changed industries on a few occassions. This was to keep me sharp and also to learn new skills and ways of working in applying my knowledge. Personally I feel this has made me a more rounded professional. For example: started in retail management (8 years) undertook my NEBOSH and went into construction contracting on power stations (coal/gas/nuclear for 5 years), continued my training NEBOSH diploma etc. and went into risk insurance dealing with SMEs (3 years). I have spent the last 4 years in mining and undertook my environmental qualifications to supplement my work experience with training etc.

The reasons I have done this is that I have had a plan of where I want to be and I am executing that plan step by step. The point being make a plan and move for the right reasons rather than just for moving sake. As previously stated by others, constently jumping from one industry to another is not looked upon too favourably by employers. I would suggest a minimum of 3 years per discipline to learn, digest and be able to apply your knowledge prior to considering a move.

Qualifications, experience etc. get you the foot in the door, but ultimately once in it is about the individual and how they apply themselves that matters.

I hope that helps.

Steve e ashton  
#14 Posted : 22 July 2018 09:24:45(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Steve e ashton

I believe the resistance to recruiting from outside a very narrow sector specialism comes not from employers but from the leeching employment agencies who use very simple and overly simplistic algorithms to whittle down their long leets... And I further believe this is incredibly harmful to careers and for employers. For perspective, from retirement, I can look back on a career that started in fine Chen and metal refining, moved to agrichem, then local authority (covering education housing social work, roads, harbours quarrying and COMAH) ... Then health service, water and drainage, consultancy (especially recall working with rail, nuclear and joinery clients) then electrical distribution, and more consultancy.... Phew. Seeing it all abbreviated like that brings misty tears of recollection... My point is that I think individuals should switch sector periodically to keep their learning and inquiry skills sharp, and employers should look for skills outside their own narrow sector to avoid the 'always done it this way' blinkers. Sometimes it takes a fresh pair of eyes to spot the absolutely obvious...
Steve e ashton  
#15 Posted : 22 July 2018 09:38:19(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Steve e ashton

There is space for subject specialists who know all the intimate details of the British standards covering electrical installations, or of all the health technical memoranda covering removal of ligature points, or the rail standards covering maintenance of specific diesel locomotives etc etc... I would have found such narrow focus rather restrictive and unfulfilling... And on many occasions totally irrelevant... A fire exit at a homeless hostel with two bits of 2x4 nailed across it.. A 'wobbly kettle' that had been placed on top of a dot matrix printer... A set of access ladders with rungs too narrow for large feet and around 24 inches between rungs... These are genuine examples... And in the case of the ladders I was told the rail regulator seemed happy and they had always been like that. Most of the regulators came from that sector and had not been exposed to wider regulation or practice.
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