I took my NEBOSH Diploma to learn how to protect lives and help workers return to their families safely and in good health

Case Study: Roukaya Zetchi

We spoke to Roukaya Zetchi, the youngest woman from an Arabic country to achieve the NEBOSH International Diploma so far, about her motivation and plans for the future.

Roukaya, can you tell us a little bit about you and what made you decide to take the NEBOSH International Diploma?
I am 25 years old and I’m from the city of Bordj Bou Arreridj in Algeria. I’m a recent drilling engineering graduate from Kasedi Merbah University.

I’m enthusiastic about health and safety, especially coaching and influencing others to be safe, and working safely. I would really like to become a health and safety leader in the future. I took my NEBOSH Diploma to learn how to protect lives and help workers return to their families safely and in good health.

As a qualified drilling engineer, I’m interested in the best way in which we can perform highly critical operations without adversely affecting our workforce, premises and environment. When I researched health and safety qualifications I found NEBOSH to be the best in the market because it provides high level education about how we can manage these critical operations to ensure the safety of all stakeholders. I therefore decided that it would be the best option for me to help start my career.

Did you enjoy the course?
It was enlightening for me. When I started my health and safety journey, I was frustrated that every day around the globe a significant number of people in the workforce experience preventable incidents and accidents. Once I realised that I could be the one to make the difference as a HSE practitioner it motivated me to gain as much knowledge as I could to prevent harm in my workplace. I honestly never thought I’d say this, but health and safety is now my favourite topic and I enjoyed every single second of the course while I was learning.

What would you say to other young people who are thinking about taking a NEBOSH qualification?
I would highly recommend taking a NEBOSH Certificate or Diploma if you want to be an industry leader of the future and have a successful career in health and safety. I also think that it influences the way you think outside of work and means you make safer decisions.

To other young people who are thinking about taking a NEBOSH qualification I would say “go for it” without any hesitation. You will be able to make a real difference to people’s lives.

What are your career aspirations?
I want to be a role model and inspiration for all of my connections, especially new graduates who are undecided about their next step or are struggling to choose the best qualification to build their future career. What really matters to me is to present myself as a shining example to motivate my colleagues to do their best in setting and achieving high safety standards. In terms of a specific career, I would love to become a HSE Manager at a large power company in the future.

How has your qualification benefitted you since you completed it, or how do you expect it to benefit you in the future?
Doing my NEBOSH International Diploma meant that I gained extensive knowledge and it helped shape the way I think about health and safety. The detail in which the topics were covered gave me a great foundation and then the practical assignment helped me to successfully apply what I had learnt.

It also helped me with practical skills such as drawing up policies and strategies and gave me the confidence to propose constructive solutions to health and safety problems.

What did you enjoy most about studying health and safety?
Studying health and safety was amazing for me for lots of different reasons. For example, I like that HSE focuses not only on physical health but also on physiological/mental health - for instance stress management and fatigue. It also taught me more about the moral and social reasons to practice.

My favourite part of my studies was the unit covering hazardous substances; it was about how workplace activities can affect our health and bodies. An example that is particularly relevant to me is in drilling engineering, where a small particle of rock or cement dust containing silica can affect our respiratory system leading to serious diseases such as silicosis or lung cancer. I think it’s important to have this awareness in order to protect the workforce from harm and so that you can put procedures in place to mitigate the risks.

What would your advice be to anyone at the start of their health and safety career?
• Make sure that you are well-disciplined and willing to be a consistent learner.
• Take the time to develop a strong understanding of HSE procedures and requirements.
• Focus on your responsibilities and targets and communicate these in a positive way to ensure buy-in from colleagues to help achieve them.
• Make a development plan for yourself and set goals to help you become a competent professional.