Diploma: Three years to enroll but only six months to pass!

Case Study: Mazhar Hussain - DP World


“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” Henry Ford.

When Mazhar Hussain started thinking about taking the NEBOSH International Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety back in 2013, he was a little nervous of the challenge that lay ahead.

He had just passed the NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety (IGC) after moving from Pakistan to the United Arab Emirates to work in construction. Previously, Mazhar had worked for the emergency services in Pakistan, rescuing people from disaster and responding to major fire and road accidents as an incident commander. He also ran a community awareness and training program to enable civilians and government officials to play active roles following emergencies and disasters. His passion for “saving people’s lives” encouraged him to seek a role in health and safety in the UAE, which is why he took his NEBOSH IGC.

His NEBOSH Certificate led to an HSE Officer role with DP World, UAE Region, which is one of the largest marine terminal operators in the world. Keen to learn more, he immediately looked at enrolling on a NEBOSH International Diploma course.

“At the time some people were telling me that the Diploma was hard to pass. The thought of working full-time in my new role and having to study for something so challenging, and which could take many years, meant I just kept putting things off to be honest.”

However, three years later in 2016 Mazhar took the bull by the horns and decided to stop listening to others and just get on with it! He enrolled and took the incredibly bold step of attempting three exams all at once. He passed and went on to complete the final practical assignment, all within six months.

“I soon realised this was quite an unusual achievement here in UAE. I even had people calling me to ask how I had done it! The first thing I would say was that they needed to get their minds around this misconception that the NEBOSH Diploma is something that is impossible to pass. Let’s be clear - it’s not easy - but if you’re willing to study across all aspects of the syllabus and you are well prepared for the assessments then yes, you can do it.

“I always add that I am not any kind of special student. I wasn’t even the stand-out student in my class. And I definitely do not have any kind of special talent for memorising things. Simply study regularly, use your experience and always focus on what is being asked of you in the assessments and you will succeed. If I can, anyone can!”

Mazhar’s only regret is that he took so long thinking about the Diploma. “In this profession a NEBOSH Diploma is your future. For me it’s something you must have, not only to grow, but also to survive in health and safety.”

“After achieving my Diploma I was able to reduce the number of accidents in my workplace, which is my main focus. I’m looking for permanent change; I want people to understand why I’m asking them to change their behaviour so that they can be safe for the rest of their lives.”

“I also believe that the Diploma made me more confident to talk to colleagues at all levels because I knew that I had the qualification and the knowledge to back up what I was saying.”

Through his studying, his experience and the application of his learning in the workplace, Mazhar was presented with a prestigious ‘Taqdeer Award’ at DP World in recognition of his performance. This, together with his attendance at the 2017 NEBOSH Graduation Ceremony, are real career highlights for Mazhar.

“But what I’m most proud of is to be a qualified in a profession that is dedicated to saving lives and protecting people from harm. For me, this is the greatest motivation to grow and improve. So don’t fear the Diploma, just do it!”

  • International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety
  • International Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety