National Health, Safety & Environmental Manager
Level 5 Operation Manager Apprentice
I left school in 1983 and joined a local plumbing firm where I became a plumbing apprentice, studying on day release over a four year period. From this I learned all about the different aspects of the building trade, and subsequently continued my education with a Higher National Certificate in Building Studies.
I first became involved with Health & Safety during eight years of working with the NHS as a maintenance plumber in the East Lancashire Trust. As a union safety representative I completed Union levels 1 & 2 in Safety and was appointed union shop steward, where I was a member of the joint negotiating committee and secretary of this group. This helped me to develop my listening and presentation skills.
Integral career path
In 2001 I joined Integral as a domestic gas engineer in the housing department, working out of Liverpool. Here I progressed through to Gas Quality Officer responsible for branch safety supervisors. In 2007 I became H&S Supervisor for the housing department and then HS&E officer for the housing and commercial operations throughout North West. In 2014 I advanced again, becoming the Northern region Safety Advisor and most recently in 2018, became the National Safety Manager for the North & Scotland.
While with Integral, my career path has been supported with training. I have achieved the NEBOSH general certificate in Occupation Safety and Health, the NEBOSH certification in Construction and the IEMA foundation course in Environmental Protection.
Working my way up through the organisation has given me a great appreciation of the challenges that engineers face and means that I would never ask anybody to do a task that I wouldn’t do myself. The biggest challenge of my role is to ensure that in any situation or job, safety remains the first priority for all our employees, and that relevant training and provision is available to reduce risk and safeguard our employees, clients and sub-contractors.
Level 5 Operation Manager Apprenticeship
To enhance my leadership skills and help me to perform at the highest level, I have recently embarked on the Level 5 Operation Manager’s apprenticeship. This course will take 24 months to complete with 8 to 10 full day workshops, and a monthly support coach visit.
I have struggled with dyslexia throughout my life, but the way in which the course is set up works well for my learning style. There is lots of support on offer and the variety of methods used for creating task answers, including professional discussions and presentations, ensures I am not at a disadvantage. The course so far has challenged the way that I think about management and I have enjoyed discovering the different approaches that I can use to get the best out of the team.
Sharing the experience
As well as being an apprentice myself, I have a Level 3 H&S apprentice and a Level 4 Compliance Officer apprentice, reporting to me. Knowing that we are all on a learning journey means that we can share the experience and encourage each other throughout the process. To this end we have set up a group session on Fridays, where we discuss the courses we are on and help each other with any individual issues.
I recommend the apprenticeship scheme approach as it is a great method to further the knowledge base of the individual in a practical way, while providing opportunities for networking with likeminded people from across the business.
The sky's the limit
I would encourage anybody, of any age, to embark on a career in engineering, as there are diverse positions in all sorts of departments. The UK has a lack of skilled people available to fill engineering roles and within Integral there is so much opportunity for personal career development that the sky’s the limit. My experiences and this latest qualification, shows that the business is committed to investing in those who want to do well.