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#1 Posted : 07 December 2017 14:49:25(UTC)
Rank: New forum user

This is my first post so please go easy on me! 

My background is Environmental Health with over 11 years in the public sector in the area of Environmental Protection. I am now seeking to change my career toward H&S, most likely in the private sector due to the percentage of job opportunites available. My BSc (Hons) degree (cognate) has allowed me to obtained Grad IOSH and I have enrolled on the NEBOSH Diploma (self-funded) to strengthen my knowledge base. I am thoroughly enjoying it so far and i can see why many H&S professional are intelliegent people!!. I also have a Diploma in Acoustic and Noise Control. 

Until I complete my NEBOSH I was initially under the impression that I would have difficulty securing any H&S positions primarily due to having minimal H&S experience. 

My ideal position would be to secure a post where i could learn on the job, complete my Diploma, and apply my transferrible skills gained from my current position. What makes the task perhaps more difficult I am relocating back to Northern Ireland where the job pool is more limited.

However I have seen many job descriptions which all vary in required qualificiations and experience so I know the above is possible if I structre my CV to play on my strengths and skills. 

Does anyone have any words of encouragement that I am on the right track to pursuing my new career in a sensible manner. Any other tips or advice is greatly appreciated? 



#2 Posted : 07 December 2017 21:09:02(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

I would say it is a jump that can be done, and I would focus on any environmental / waste management companies who may be looking for HS Professionals. I would say that the main difference between public and private sector is that you are there to advise - not enforce the law ! You are there to ensure the employer is compliant with relevant legisaltion.

I tried to do the opposite of you 20 years ago, but couldnt become a EHO due to local govenment cutbacks. I never regretted making the trasngression into HS since.

You will find compettion for HS jobs to be very competitive with 50 to 100 applications for the most popular industries aroung the UK so be prepared for knock backs before you get in.

You will need some experience, so perhaps working in a voluntary capacity may help. I would suggest join your local IOSH group and network.

thanks 1 user thanked Fraser38932 for this useful post.
DColhoun on 11/12/2017(UTC)
#3 Posted : 08 December 2017 10:07:08(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

I'm an 'ex' EHO who moved into the big, wide world in 1999 .. yes, I've been back into the public sector but social services & NHS not enforcement. I think the biggest challenge you may face is the loss of your powers - you lose your 'stick' & only have carrots, which we all know are not that tempting...

However, EHOs are 'liked' by many industries as we are seen as having transferable skills, being flexible and very good at problem solving - my degree has always been an advantage and as my background was H&S, I never went for NEBOSH & have never needed it - got CMIOSH the old way with a cognate degree.

I was advised to go into consultancy as a stepping stone - I didn't much like the job but it was good advice & gave me some 'shelter' as I learnt to work in a much bigger pond. I'm now working in a College and, personally, I'd never go back into local authority enforcement.

thanks 2 users thanked lorna for this useful post.
DColhoun on 11/12/2017(UTC), RayRapp on 13/12/2017(UTC)
#4 Posted : 13 December 2017 11:08:17(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user

I think you find that you have more transferable skills than you might of anticipated. This industry is about knowledge as well as experience, but also being able to apply those skills in a real world environment.

I went from private industry a few years ago to to Local Authority, it's different but nothing too challenging. Anyway, I have never undertaken a role where there is not a certain learning curve involved. I think the important thing is to ensure you research the areas where you may be weaker and never pretend you know about something when you don't. No one is expected to know everything about health, safety, fire and so on. 

Good luck.

#5 Posted : 13 December 2017 12:17:52(UTC)
Rank: Forum user

Your positive attitude, willingless to embrace challenges and self develop shines through. This will stand you in good stead. In simple terms health and safety is about being committed, willing to learn, being inquisitive and asking questions. You appear to be well on your way.

Do not ever think what you have already learnt will not assist you going forward, you will find previous knowledge invaluable and will often let you see things from a different perspective. This is a positive as you will become a more rounded health and safety professional as a result.

I have in the recent past employed two health and safety advisors who were both less qualifed/expereinced than other candidates I interviewed, but what shone through was their soft skills, attitude and desire. Both are now diploma qualifed and on their way to attaining CMIOSH and CMaPS.

Do not under sell yourself and remember learn/learn/learn. I wish you all the best and a merry Christmas!

A Kurdziel  
#6 Posted : 13 December 2017 13:55:45(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

The key skills that you need are not knowing about H&S or being able to quote legislation but skills you probably already have like:

  • Explaining a novel concept(like risk assessment)  to someone without making them feel stupid
  • Writing a report that is long enough to explain what is needed but no so long that it sends the reader to sleep
  • Being able to contribute to a meeting in a useful way
  • Being able to stand in front of a room of strangers and take them through a really boring process without sounding bored yourself
  • Knowing how to use Excel, Word and PowerPoint to something approaching their maximum  capabilities
  • Good Sense Of Humour


These are the skills that they don’t teach you on any course but should put you in good stead if you want to work in H&S (private or public sector)


#7 Posted : 15 December 2017 12:47:34(UTC)
Rank: New forum user

Many thanks folks for your replies, it is nice to see a range of responses, all positive i might add. I know I can make the jump and perhaps I realise its not a jump but more of a side step! 

I figure I will be a long time working until I retire and while I am reasonably young and enthusatic I will continue to enjoy studying for my NEBOSH Dip. 

Transferrable skills are becoming more important in todays fluid market but this is not something that I think many people can easily utilise. This is something i really need to fine tune and use to my advantage.

I do look forward to the next 6-12 months and thanks again for your comments.  

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