Health and's an ideal route to go down, particularly if making a difference to someone’s life is one of your drivers

Case Study: Craig Jack - Emtelle

In our latest interview, we spoke to Craig Jack who is a Health, Safety & Environmental Coordinator at Emtelle, in Scotland. Craig discusses why he chose to pursue a career in health and safety after serving in the British Army.

Craig, you have worked at Emtelle for the past three years, can you tell us a little bit about the organisation?

Emtelle is a global manufacturer of pre connectorized, blown fibre cable, and ducted network solutions. It’s 650 employees serve customers in more than 100 countries. The company has been operating for over 40 years and is known for its continuous innovation and growth. It is currently expanding into the UAE and the USA, which will give a larger global footprint and will help us deliver an even more efficient service to our customers worldwide.

Your role as Health, Safety & Environmental Coordinator at Emtelle, what does this entail?

My role is rather expansive as health and safety is required within all aspects of the business. I provide all the usual things you would expect, for example: risk assessing tasks and equipment, safety audits, chairing safety committee meetings, communicating with all the different stakeholders, liaising with external bodies whether it be for audit purposes or emergency service familiarisation visits, and I also assist with ensuring first aiders and fire warden trained.

I am currently getting more involved with the environmental and sustainability side of the business. Emtelle has a sustainability strategy that outlines the company’s main goals for the next ten years and includes targets for reducing emissions, improving resource sustainability, and reducing waste. As part of this strategy, I am looking at ways to recycle our mixed product waste, which could be manufactured into a product, to reduce our landfill waste.


How did you end up working in health and safety when your career in the Army came to an end?

To be honest it just happened! After leaving the Army, I returned to the town where I was from and began working for a manufacturing business in the town.  I was looking for opportunities to expand my learning when I saw an internal health and safety course advertised on the noticeboard. I got the OK to attend and after that course I was hooked on health and safety and wanted to learn more. I’m not sure what it was, but I felt I had a purpose again and I hadn’t felt that since I left the Army.

Why do you think health and safety is a good career choice for service leavers?

It is a great career option for those who have served in the military because so many of the skills you gain are transferable.  During my six years of service with the Army, I got used to assessing risks and looking for ways to keep myself and others safe and this serves me well in my new career.  I also learnt to think on my feet and communicate effectively with others at all levels and these are key skills that help me in my new role.  The way things are approached are similar too.  In the army we had briefings before we went on to the firing range, and this is the equivalent of the toolbox talks we arrange now in the workplace.

What made you chose the National General Certificate in Occupational Health as the start of your health and safety personal development journey?

My previous employers didn’t have anyone who was solely responsible for health and safety internally and were supported by an external consultant.  The consultant recommended that I attend the NEBOSH General Certificate to my line manager as a way to broaden my understanding of health and safety.

I was very grateful to be given the opportunity to complete the qualification, which reinforced my interest in health and safety and desire to make it my career in the long-term.

The consultant mentored me and helped me build on the broad foundation the NEBOSH General Certificate gave me. I worked on extending my knowledge and building my confidence and one year after taking my NEBOSH General Certificate assessments, I secured my first health and safety role as a SHEQ technician with Emtelle. Achieving the NEBOSH General Certificate played a key part in my journey to turning my passion for health and safety into a career.

You have gone on to complete the NEBOSH Certificate in Fire Safety, can you explain why you decided to take this qualification and how it has helped you?

I am very enthusiastic about my professional development and am keen to keep learning. I chose the Fire Certificate because I wanted to gain a more in depth understanding and knowledge of this important aspect of health and safety.  I thought it would be good for me and relevant in my role.

Given my increased involvement in sustainability and the environment, I have signed up for the NEBOSH Environmental Management Certificate and am looking forward to starting to study for this very soon.

Good luck! I noticed you have also recently completed the NEBOSH IIRSM Certificate in Managing Risk:

  • How did you find the qualification?

I found the NEBOSH IIRSM Certificate in Managing Risk challenging as its covers other forms of risk that I had no previous experience of including business continuity, fraud and IT scams.

  • What value has this added to you?

I am still relatively new to the world of health and safety and the more knowledge and understanding I can gain on all aspects of risk the better. Taking this more holistic approach will also help the company I work for in the long term.

  • Would you recommend this to others?

Absolutely, any form of professional development is a good thing in my eyes. Whether it be a refresher course on something you first learnt about 5 years ago or something completely left field that you haven’t even thought about; studying is good for you. This qualification really made me think about things more widely and I enjoyed the challenge.

What do you enjoy most about your H&S career?

I enjoy the responsibility, the opportunity to form relationships with all kinds of people and most importantly I enjoy being able to make a difference.  This career gives you a really sense of purpose and that is important to me.

What advice would you give to someone leaving the Army for a career in health and safety?

The Army is a wild ride, but once you’re out of that bubble and back in the real world, choosing a career in health and safety is a sensible one. Many of the transferable skills you gain in the Army are really valued in the world of health and safety. It’s an ideal route to go down, particularly if making a difference to someone’s life is one of your drivers. When I look back, I am glad I chose this path, as it has turned out to be the perfect role for me.