I decided to invest in myself... I've never looked back since!

Case Study: Alanah Campbell - West Fraser UK

We spoke to Alanah Campbell, Environmental Health & Safety Advisor at West Fraser UK, about her NEBOSH journey including her thoughts on one of our newer qualifications; the NEBOSH IIRSM Certificate in Managing Risk.

I see that you have recently decided to change the path of your career. What inspired this change and why did you pick health and safety specifically?

I fell into finance after leaving school. I wasn’t one of those lucky people that just know what they want to do when they enter the world of work. I knew finance wasn’t going to be my lifelong career, but I just didn’t know what else I wanted to do. In a previous role I got the opportunity to get involved in health and safety and I attended an IOSH branch meeting on behalf of the Director. I found it was something I really enjoyed and felt it was something I would like to pursue.

Like many other people, lockdown made me re-evaluate a lot of things including my career and where it was going. I decided to invest in myself and enrolled onto the NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety. I am so pleased I made this decision as I've never looked back since!

What motivated you to study for this qualification in particular and how did it help your career?

I studied with NEBOSH and chose the General Certificate in particular, as I found it was highly thought of and sought after. It seemed like the perfect starting point for a career in health and safety. I chose to study fully online which required a lot of self-discipline as I was working full time too. I had to make sure I devoted enough time to my studies, which can be a challenge after a full day of work! It was a lot to take on, but it was worth it. I felt I learnt a lot and as soon as I had the results from my second assessment, I secured a job. I suppose gaining the qualification and being prepared to self-fund my own studies demonstrated my commitment to the change I wanted to make, and this really helped me secure my first opportunity.

I can see that you have recently moved jobs and are now working as an Environmental Health & Safety Advisor at West Fraser UK. Can you tell us a little bit about the company and the role you play within the business?

West Fraser is a world-leading manufacturer of engineered wood-based products. I am based at its large manufacturing plant on the outskirts of Inverness. If you’ve ever driven the A96 you’ll have seen the cloud factory as it’s known.

My role is a really varied one as most health and safety roles are! I develop, implement, and maintain EHS policies. In line with regulations, I carry out weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual audits. I liaise with enforcing bodies to ensure we are compliant to set standards such as ISO14001 and 9001. I ensure that any training requirements are actioned appropriately. I also carry out site inspections and liaise with appropriate management teams to ensure that any concerns I identify are addressed.

Joining West Fraser has been a really great move for me. It has given me greater exposure to different aspects of health and safety that I had limited experience of in previous roles.

There is a lot happening within the business, so it’s been a really good time to join and I’m looking forward to growing and developing within the business too!

What do you enjoy most about being a health and safety professional?

I love having the opportunity to constantly interact with others, helping colleagues understand their health and safety responsibilities so that the business remains compliant, and everyone is kept safe and well. I love being out and about on site interacting with everyone. Health and safety is a great and rewarding career for anyone that wants to make a real difference! I love personal development and learning, which is just as well as you are always learning working in health and safety.

You recently completed the NEBOSH IIRSM Certificate in Managing Risk. Would you mind explaining why this qualification appealed to you?

I liked that it was a qualification that had been developed in collaboration by NEBOSH and IIRSM. I knew that the content would be beneficial for me as the emphasis was different to other qualifications I had done. I thought it would teach me new things and I wasn’t wrong.

How did you find it and would you recommend it to others?

I really enjoyed doing this online course as it was really well structured with great, interactive learning materials.

I particularly like the emphasis on personal and cultural psychological impacts on risk management. This certificate looks at risk in broader terms than just health and safety, which I thought was really great. I would say it's a must have to anyone working within risk.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering either health and safety or risk for a career?

That cheesy old 'love what you do, and you'll never work a day in your life' has never felt more true. It's never too late to make a change and health and safety is a great choice! You are constantly interacting with people, making changes, keeping people safe and learning - what's not to love?