I chose NEBOSH because international companies look for internationally recognised qualifications!

Case Study: Ahmed Jafer Al Jamali

In our latest interview we spoke to Ahmed Jafer Al Jamali, a Environmental Health and Safety Specialist Engineer for a global electrical energy company in Iraq about his career and the part NEBOSH has played.

After completing your university degree, your career was initially focused on quality. Why did you choose to move into Health and Safety?

My career path changed after I witnessed an industrial accident whilst working as an electrical quality control engineer.  I was testing the main electric board and one of my team forgot to follow the lockout tagout procedure we used to prevent unauthorised access.  He sustained an electric shock which resulted in hand and face burns. After seeing the pain and suffering the accident caused him, I was keen to ensure that my colleagues and I always adopted the highest standards in future. I did research on the internet which led to improvements being made and this was the start of my interest in health and safety. I loved finding ways to keep myself and the team safe during our work and was keen to make this my profession.

So many people we talk to choose to go into health and safety after witnessing an accident. I see it has been your career since 2012. What do you enjoy most about health and safety?

I enjoy sharing my passion with others by delivering tool-box talks and other training. I believe that by influencing and encouraging others to work safely, I help stop accidents and avoid the pain and suffering I witnessed. I get the opportunity to make a difference every day by keeping my colleague’s safe. This career has been as rewarding as I thought it would be.

2020, seems to have been a busy year for you from a NEBOSH perspective, as you completed three of our qualifications!  The first was the International General Certificate which you did in February. Why this qualification and what difference has it made to you?

I had gained eight years’ health and safety experience by 2020 and wanted to take a professional qualification to back this up. I believed this would open more opportunities for me and, having researched options, I decided the NEBOSH International General Certificate would be the best choice.

I really enjoyed it and found it improved my knowledge. I found I better understood the connections between health and safety management and behaviour on site. I passed the qualification with credit and this proved to be a pivotal moment in my career. 

You joined a global electrical energy company as an Environmental Health and Safety Specialist in August 2020. Did holding the NEBOSH International General Certificate help you secure this role?

Definitely. International companies look for internationally recognised qualifications.  NEBOSH has an excellent reputation in the Middle East so having the International General Certificate helped me secure my position with the company.  The role is Environmental Health and Safety Specialist Engineer and I specialise in lifting, scaffolding and risk assessment.

I am so happy to work for this company in Iraq as it genuinely cares about its workers all over the world. Its ethos is ‘One world, one life, we care’ and health and safety and environmental management are key to this.

You certainly seem to have joined an exciting company, which is focused on creating the energy systems of the future. Can you tell us a little about the company and your role?

The company I work for is the main contractor of the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity and Construction. It has built 15 electrical substations to support the electrical network in Iraq. My role, as an Environmental Health and Safety Specialist Engineer, is to support the contractors during the construction stage. I conduct risk assessments and identify control measures, share health and safety requirements, and inspect sites to ensure compliance.

As I have said before, I particularly enjoy training and I get the opportunity to do this in my new job too. Good health and safety communications and training helps us raise standards and keep our people safe.  My NEBOSH studies gave me the confidence I needed when I was faced with the challenges that COVID-19 created. I had strength in my convictions to deliver my responsibilities in a very large organisation.

You have since gone on to complete the NEBOSH one-day Leadership and Incident Investigation qualifications. What did you gain from these qualifications?

In my role, I provide health and safety leadership in my workplace of 100 people. I wanted to take the NEBOSH leadership qualification to improve my skills. It helped me to better guide my team by providing direction and motivation more effectively. It also gave me a clear vision for my future.

The NEBOSH Incident Investigation content was useful and provided valuable insight into conducting interviews and producing reports after an incident. When I look back at the electric shock incident that started my health and safety career, I now see it was caused by a lack of training and a failure to ensure health and safety management systems and procedures were followed.

What is next for you in terms of your personal development?

I am proud of everything I have achieved so far, in both my Engineering and Health and Safety careers!

I have really enjoyed the three NEBOSH qualifications I completed last year. They have improved my knowledge and skills and helped me secure this job, which I find so interesting and rewarding.

I am continuing my NEBOSH studies because these qualifications are highly respected. I have begun the NEBOSH International Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health and am preparing for my first assessment.

Overall, I believe my NEBOSH qualifications made a big difference to how health and safety professionals see me and achieving the Diploma can only enhance further this.

What are your long-term career aspirations?

I have always enjoyed delivering training, so my long-term aspiration is to become a health and safety trainer. I would love to share the knowledge and expertise I have gained with the next generation of health and safety officers. It is my objective to empower and educate people to maintain their own and others health and wellness and prevent accidents and disease.

What would you advise anyone who wants to pursue a career in health and safety?

Follow your passion! Get experience and take qualifications that will support your development. For me, my NEBOSH qualifications have made a huge difference to my career because of the knowledge and skills I have gained through my studies. This is a rewarding career, which I highly recommend if you want to make a difference!