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hardworkingdude  
#1 Posted : 10 February 2018 22:54:58(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hardworkingdude

So here I am after doing a level 6 diploma in Applied Health and Safety, it's been ages and I can't seem to find that first job, I've gone as far as to volunteer to get experience as a safety practitioner but to no avail. I currently work as an engineer but desperately want to move into a health and safety career, I've had 2 interviews both for trainee health and safety jobs and both times I've been rejected due to not having experience! Does any one have any tips, any further courses I can take to make me stand out as I feel like giving up! :(
Kate  
#2 Posted : 11 February 2018 08:10:09(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

If lack of experience is the blocker then more courses are unlikely to help, what you need is experience and just as importantly to show that you have experience.  

A good way to get experience is within your engineer role.  If you tell your employer you are interested there may be things you can do, for example, joining the health and safety committee and taking part in any relevant tasks such as risk assessments and inspections.  Also, you need to make sure that your CV and interview answers reflect the experience that you have already got.  You don't say what kind of engineering work you do but engineering roles often do have a significant element of health and safety which you can use to your advantage.

Don't give up.  Good luck!

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hardworkingdude on 12/02/2018(UTC)
peter gotch  
#3 Posted : 11 February 2018 14:35:24(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

I'm with Kate. Review what your current role includes re H&S and sell this in CV, applications and interviews.

Consider what else you could volunteer for as regards H&S elements for your current job.

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hardworkingdude on 12/02/2018(UTC)
Ian Bell2  
#4 Posted : 11 February 2018 20:36:22(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Ian Bell2

Safety is a sub set of engineering.

What sort of engineering do you do?

Things to take a look at - are your company machines guarded properly? If not, what needs to be done. Become the company expert on machinery safety.

What about electrical safety?

Chemicals used in production and engineering. Can engineering improvements be made to improve chemical safety? Follow the risk hierarchy. Can hazardous chemicals be removed and less hazardous chemicals used instead?

Safe systems of work - what meainenance procedures do you have? Power isolation when working? Permits to work required?

Lots to look at, then start including this sort of experience on your cv.

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hardworkingdude on 12/02/2018(UTC)
Clark34486  
#5 Posted : 12 February 2018 07:27:55(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Clark34486

I was originally working in heavy industry as a tradesperson, when I eventually made it into the office I was 'voluntold' to be the company H&S advisor. IOSH MS...NEBOSH GC and suddenly 'hmmmm this is ok, I fancy a bit of this'

In my expereince very few people choose H&S it chooses them. When I decided to pursue this full-time I wrote a covering letter (begging letter more like) accompanied by a CV looking for a H&S position with sponsorship through the NEBOSH Dip. I chose the larger 'players' within my sector (M&E contracting/ construction) and wrote, and wrote and wrote, it took months but eventually I got a taker. The junior Regional SHE Advisor position I was givenh was perfect, site visits carrying out compliance/ inspections etc. I only stuck around for 16 months but it was absolutely perfect.

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hardworkingdude on 12/02/2018(UTC)
Martin Brogan  
#6 Posted : 12 February 2018 08:27:49(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Martin Brogan

Hi I have just moved into my first full time health and safety role (Jan 18) having worked in manufacturing (Printer/manager) and progressed through management levels to production manager in varies different comapnies. I however was lucky or unlucky depends how you look at it to have the the chance to use my health and safey skills and training in all my roles giving me experience and confidience. My new role is a total different industry but what the employer liked was my duel skills and how my management approach and communication skills to staff would be key. Key is have a look at what you can do, how you can use your health and safety in your current job and gain that experience. If you have a safety manager, ask him to mentor you. Update your c.v and put in all your safety knowledge coupled with your current duties. Some companies will relate to that more than certificates and no work expierience. I am 50 this year and never gave up my dream of changing career - go for it and good luck.

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hardworkingdude on 12/02/2018(UTC)
biker1  
#7 Posted : 12 February 2018 10:22:10(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
biker1

It sounds like you are caught in the no experience, can't get a job because of lack of experience, can't get experience because you can't get a job, can't get a job because of lack of experience.....trap. Applies to a lot of jobs unfortunately, and the last major recession changed the job market so that breaking into a new industry became near impossible, rather than the former positon that valued a fresh pair of eyes..

Lot of good advice given, just garner whatever experience you can. Often, this can lead to getting into health and safety through the back door, so to speak.

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hardworkingdude on 12/02/2018(UTC)
biker1  
#8 Posted : 12 February 2018 10:37:31(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
biker1

I could add, and the following may sound cynical, but you could drop lucky and find an employer who doesn't know much about health and safety professionals and/or doesn't value them, but is just going through the motions of appointing one, so you stand a good chance in that scenario. The downside of this, of course, is that their ignorance or lack of commitment to health and safety will quickly become apparent in the way you are treated. You then have a choice. You can either try and change things and get their commitment, or get as much useful experience as possible and then find another job where you will be valued.

Sounds somewhat cynical, I know, but I've been there and done that, and tried both options. At the very least, it gave me an entry into the health and safety profession.

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hardworkingdude on 12/02/2018(UTC)
Stephenl1985  
#9 Posted : 14 February 2018 20:33:45(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Stephenl1985

I too suffer from a lack of experience.  I currently work as a machine operative in a pharmaceutical packaging factory.  I have asked my current employer were there any H&S positions becoming available, no luck there.  In process of applying for H&S jobs but the lack of experience is holding me back.  I have decided I am going to offer my knowledge to local small businesses in return for a written reference that I will attach to my CV.  

watcher  
#10 Posted : 15 February 2018 10:31:28(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
watcher

Originally Posted by: Stephenl1985 Go to Quoted Post

I too suffer from a lack of experience.  I currently work as a machine operative in a pharmaceutical packaging factory.  I have asked my current employer were there any H&S positions becoming available, no luck there.  In process of applying for H&S jobs but the lack of experience is holding me back.  I have decided I am going to offer my knowledge to local small businesses in return for a written reference that I will attach to my CV.  

Stephen, I'm not sure if I'm understanding.  Are you offering H & S advice to small businesses?

Johndoh1976  
#11 Posted : 15 February 2018 21:17:44(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Johndoh1976

I too fall foul of the experience situation having completed Nebosh Certs. I've found voluntary work and am enrolling on the NVQ5 to gain experience and proof of doing work based tasks. I'll tackle Nebosh Diploma once I'm in the profession full time.
1stephenhill1  
#12 Posted : 20 February 2018 18:45:17(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
1stephenhill1

Same problem here, got NEBOSH GC, various plant licences and other certs but came up short in my first two interviews. Got told that I had and excellent knowledge on legislation/regulations but lacked experience and the 'soft skills' to make a business case for H & S....so how do I get the experience to gain said 'soft skills' etc...it's a vicious circle...

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johnc on 28/02/2018(UTC)
Stephenl1985  
#13 Posted : 20 February 2018 21:56:20(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Stephenl1985

Originally Posted by: watcher Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Stephenl1985 Go to Quoted Post

I too suffer from a lack of experience.  I currently work as a machine operative in a pharmaceutical packaging factory.  I have asked my current employer were there any H&S positions becoming available, no luck there.  In process of applying for H&S jobs but the lack of experience is holding me back.  I have decided I am going to offer my knowledge to local small businesses in return for a written reference that I will attach to my CV.  

Stephen, I'm not sure if I'm understanding.  Are you offering H & S advice to small businesses?

Yes that is the plan,  

jodieclark1510  
#14 Posted : 21 February 2018 09:06:21(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
jodieclark1510

Originally Posted by: Stephenl1985 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: watcher Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Stephenl1985 Go to Quoted Post

I too suffer from a lack of experience.  I currently work as a machine operative in a pharmaceutical packaging factory.  I have asked my current employer were there any H&S positions becoming available, no luck there.  In process of applying for H&S jobs but the lack of experience is holding me back.  I have decided I am going to offer my knowledge to local small businesses in return for a written reference that I will attach to my CV.  

Stephen, I'm not sure if I'm understanding.  Are you offering H & S advice to small businesses?

Yes that is the plan,  

You may want to look at getting some Professional Indemnity Insurance if this is what you are planning on doing. Have you looked at perhaps more junior or split roles? My first role was half Health and Safety Admin, half PA, then I went into a compliance trainee role. Also, so many people are scared of saying they don't know something in an interview, when actually it can be a good thing.

watcher  
#15 Posted : 21 February 2018 10:07:35(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
watcher

Originally Posted by: Stephenl1985 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: watcher Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Stephenl1985 Go to Quoted Post

I too suffer from a lack of experience.  I currently work as a machine operative in a pharmaceutical packaging factory.  I have asked my current employer were there any H&S positions becoming available, no luck there.  In process of applying for H&S jobs but the lack of experience is holding me back.  I have decided I am going to offer my knowledge to local small businesses in return for a written reference that I will attach to my CV.  

Stephen, I'm not sure if I'm understanding.  Are you offering H & S advice to small businesses?

Yes that is the plan,  

Oh well, good luck with that.   Small businesses do not equal small risk.  You presumably feel that you're competent to do so, and as Jodie said should consider insurance.  You'll be competing with people who have H & S qualifications and experience, so may be hard to break through with a certifcate and no experience, but I admire your enthusiasm

Stephenl1985  
#16 Posted : 28 February 2018 19:56:21(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Stephenl1985

OK so here's what happened so far.  I created a page on a social media platform called proactive Health and Safety.  I have secured a contract with 5 small local business', and currently, have another 2 thinking of coming onboard.  I have offered myself as a competent person offering free H&S advice, risk assessment, COSHH assessment etc, in return for a written reference.  We shall see how it plays out, nobody is going to come knocking on my door to offer me experience, it's up to me to gain.

SBH  
#17 Posted : 01 March 2018 10:54:25(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
SBH

So stephen you are considering offering FREE advice to clients. Why then would prospective clients even think about paying you at a later date, AND WHY WOULD THEY CONSIDER PAYING SEASONED PROFESSIONAL THE GOING RATES, wheb people such as yourself are offering it FREE

In my view and although it is a positive way forward for people wishing to gain practical experience I have to consider that offering free advice is detrimental to the service provided, and lowers the value of health and safety professionals. Would a plumber or electrician offer to fix your faulty boiler or electrics for no money - I think not.

Instead I would go down another route and I would suggest that you offer an audit service of their health and safety system for FREE, and then charge them to implement remedial actions required to make them compliant.

I am trying to be helpful and positive but it does blitz me off thet people will lower themselves and work for free when there is probably no job at the end

Regards

SBH

Ian Bell2  
#18 Posted : 01 March 2018 17:23:20(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Ian Bell2

Originally Posted by: Stephenl1985 Go to Quoted Post

OK so here's what happened so far.  I created a page on a social media platform called proactive Health and Safety.  I have secured a contract with 5 small local business', and currently, have another 2 thinking of coming onboard.  I have offered myself as a competent person offering free H&S advice, risk assessment, COSHH assessment etc, in return for a written reference.  We shall see how it plays out, nobody is going to come knocking on my door to offer me experience, it's up to me to gain.

I note this is a post by someone other than the original poster, so I am responding to the above quoted comments.

I find this quite disturbing - not only from the commerical point of view, but from the ethical point of view.

Do you have a written, commercially/legally binding contract with these 5 local companies? If so, yet no money is changing hands? Are you insured? So when it goes pear shaped and you have given bad advice - who is going to fund your legal defence/compensation if you get sued?

And when you decide to become employed - you submit your 1st invoice, you are then expecting to get paid? Why does your 'work' suddenly become worth paying for - if you have been doing similar work for free?

As others have said, your local plumber etc won't work for free, so why should a h&s consultant?

Are you competent, I see no comments claiming competence/your training qualifications in h&s.

I appreciate its tough getting a first h&s job, but most people achieve it by slowly expanding/gaining experience in a current job. As I alluded to in my first reply to the original poster.

With so much free h&s information already on the internet, its tough enough getting paid freelance consultancy work at the moment. This does nothing to progress the credibility of the h&s profession.

One tip I was told, was never under sell or under value your services.

I recently turned down work a 3mth contract @ £55/hr - because I didn't think the potential client was aware of his responsibilities or knew what he wanted.

thanks 1 user thanked Ian Bell2 for this useful post.
lorna on 02/03/2018(UTC)
watcher  
#19 Posted : 06 March 2018 11:52:50(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
watcher

Originally Posted by: Ian Bell2 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Stephenl1985 Go to Quoted Post

OK so here's what happened so far.  I created a page on a social media platform called proactive Health and Safety.  I have secured a contract with 5 small local business', and currently, have another 2 thinking of coming onboard.  I have offered myself as a competent person offering free H&S advice, risk assessment, COSHH assessment etc, in return for a written reference.  We shall see how it plays out, nobody is going to come knocking on my door to offer me experience, it's up to me to gain.

I note this is a post by someone other than the original poster, so I am responding to the above quoted comments.

I find this quite disturbing - not only from the commerical point of view, but from the ethical point of view.

Do you have a written, commercially/legally binding contract with these 5 local companies? If so, yet no money is changing hands? Are you insured? So when it goes pear shaped and you have given bad advice - who is going to fund your legal defence/compensation if you get sued?

And when you decide to become employed - you submit your 1st invoice, you are then expecting to get paid? Why does your 'work' suddenly become worth paying for - if you have been doing similar work for free?

As others have said, your local plumber etc won't work for free, so why should a h&s consultant?

Are you competent, I see no comments claiming competence/your training qualifications in h&s.

I appreciate its tough getting a first h&s job, but most people achieve it by slowly expanding/gaining experience in a current job. As I alluded to in my first reply to the original poster.

With so much free h&s information already on the internet, its tough enough getting paid freelance consultancy work at the moment. This does nothing to progress the credibility of the h&s profession.

One tip I was told, was never under sell or under value your services.

I recently turned down work a 3mth contract @ £55/hr - because I didn't think the potential client was aware of his responsibilities or knew what he wanted.

Ian, I was trying to be nice about it but here's a quote from this contributor

"I am new to H&S, the only experience I have is that I have done a handful of safety tours and am a member of the H&S committee at work.  I have been actively looking for a H&S role but it seems everyone wants experience."

Stephen - your enthusiasm is commendable but part of being a H & S Professional is knowing your own competence and limitations.  Small businesss don't mean low risk.

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