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#1 Posted : 19 September 2017 12:03:50(UTC)
Rank: New forum user


I am after a bit of advice and direction.  After completing my NEBOSH general certificate and searching for a role in the UK with little success I had the opportunity to work abroad in China, I took this as an opportunity to gain some valuable experience before coming back to the UK and continue with my job search.

Having had 1 interview recently and been given some great feedback and praise for my interview, it was the same old problem of needing more experience.  I have joined professional associations such as Iosh, and local health and safety groups to try and broaden my circle and meet some new contancts in the industry.  It seems the best way to get a position in H+S is by knowing someone within the industry, because the agencies have told me they will usually go for the applicant with more experience, not potential.

So basically I am asking for any advice/leads/direction.

Thank you.


#2 Posted : 19 September 2017 14:01:37(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

Hi Glyn

I’m not sure what your personal circumstances are, but this is what I did when money wasn’t a major concern for me (I was living with my parents and had little outgoings) and I was looking for my first H&S job:

  1. Get as much experience as possible and when you can - It took me 9 months to get a 3 month temporary contract and then once this finished it took another 8 months to get my next contract which was in London (I’m from Manchester) and it was only for someone leaving that I managed to stay in this job for nearly 18months (albeit on fixed term contracts).
  2. Spread your search as far as you can, I was searching nationwide to find my 1st job.
  3. Make sure you are still reading about H&S and going back to your NGC books so it is fresh. You don’t want to get an interview and then not know what to say in it (I did this in my first interview and understandably didn’t get the job).
  4. Before I got my 1st job I was in the process of contacting companies to do some volunteering in their health and safety team, I did 2 weeks with my local council who were very helpful, but they couldn’t offer any longer.
  5. Look at your CV and see what you can change to relate it to H&S. For example I previously had jobs in insurance so I changed the wording so it relates to H&S and not insurance - I didn’t lie just altered it.
  6. Look at H&S admin jobs, these are basically admin jobs but in the health and safety team but it gives you that foot in the door and then you can work your way up.
  7. Sign up to every recruitment company you can and speak to them on how to proceed.

I found it quite difficult and took sacrifices to get my start, remember to mention this in your interviews - don’t moan about it, be proud of it - try and just drop it in the answer to a question. I always mentioned I self-funded my NGC and I moved 200 miles for my 1st job and that always gets a good response (I still mention this now, 5 years after completing my NGC), you can mention that you moved abroad to gain experience. Put in your CV summary or cover letter of H&S courses that you wish to take in the near future.

I found it tough to get the start and was close to just getting another job, but glad I didn’t and I stuck with it.

All the best with your search.

#3 Posted : 19 September 2017 14:14:24(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

Have you thought about studying for the Diploma? TBH, there are few jobs out there that only request the Nebosh certificate and even for those, you'd be competing against people with no experience but the Diploma or additional qualifications who are also looking for the first step on that career ladder so I'd look into upgrading the certificate if possible.

You don't say whether you've other qualifications (undergraduate degree or masters) but if you had a Masters then would recommend the PG Certificate in Health and Safety Risk Management from Strathclyde uni (or something similar). It's a distance learning course so could be completed while working full or part-time.

Experience is always a challenge - are you in employment at the moment? If so, could you offer to shadow the safety adviser (if there is one) in that organisation one day a week perhaps? I did that in a couple of roles that weren't related to safety before I secured a position. If there isn't a safety person, offer to provide training for staff on a subject (so if office based, perhaps how to set up a computer workstation or helping with fire marshall training activities etc...

Keep at it and eventually you'll get a break - though you make have to go down several routes to get there!

Good luck!

#4 Posted : 19 September 2017 15:32:34(UTC)
Rank: New forum user

Jcollins-  Thank you for your advice. Makes a lot of sense.  I am in the situation where I have some money saved from my previous job but I do have a mortgage to pay, so I may have to take something soon to stop spending, but ideally a position at a workplace where I can get involved with the health and safety would be ideal.  I have contacted a few companies in the last few days asking if i can to some shadowing, so fingers crossed that will come back with some positive results.

Melrose- I have considered the diploma and I am more than happy to go down that route, but I have also had the advice to try get work and see which direction that takes me first, the advice given was that there are so many qualifications out there I should find work first then focus on the next group of qualifications. 

Yes, I have my BSc from University.  Sadly not in work yet, but like I previously said, I may take something shortly just to pay the bills, there are jobs out there but I want it to be something relevent.  

Thanks for the advice, will keep searching.

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