Poacher turned gamekeeper goes ape!
Case Study: Linda Green - Go Ape
Going beyond your boundaries can be a fulfilling experience and can open up new opportunities, as Linda Green has discovered throughout her career.
Linda, 58, is Head of Health and Safety at Adventure Forest Ltd, an organisation most people will recognise as tree-top activity providers Go Ape. Before taking on her role there, Linda had worked as a health and safety enforcement officer for more than 15 years.
“I’m the poacher turned gamekeeper,” she told us. “In my time in enforcement I had to deal with six workplace fatalities, so I absolutely understand just how important health and safety processes are in the workplace and what is needed to ensure tragedies can be avoided.”
It was Linda’s expertise that led to her being asked to join Go Ape. Her role there is similar in many respects to how it was as a Health and Safety Regulatory Enforcement Practitioner. She carries out random inspections and investigates incidents. However, her role goes beyond that, by providing training to staff and also encouraging young temporary employees to get the most out of their seasonal work experience learning about health and safety and risk assessments which they can take forward into their future careers.
“I love working with young people. It’s something I do outside of my work with an organisation called Challenge 4 Change,who are a registered charity offering an indoor urban experiential learning facility predominately working with youngsters to overcome barriers which are holding them back so that they can realise their true potential in life . I also have a real passion for tackling mental health issues at work, so it’s been great stepping out of my enforcement comfort zone here.
“One of the things we talk about often at Go Ape is pushing yourself outside of your boundaries. It’s one of the benefits visitors get from coming here, going hundreds of feet up in the trees and having to learn very quickly to trust in their safety harness, the safety system and their coaching. I too have had to push myself beyond my boundaries since coming here and it’s been thoroughly rewarding, I have to say.”
One of the things that helped Linda make the move to Go Ape was having a strong set of professional qualifications, including an Enforcement Diploma, a Masters degree and a NEBOSH Diploma and Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety.
“My NEBOSH Certificate was what really kick-started my professional career,” she explained. “As a teenager I left school, went on a youth training scheme and became a receptionist. It wasn’t until I was 38 years old that someone asked me to get involved in health and safety. I’m a great believer in training and qualifications, so I took the Certificate and things simply grew from there and aged 40 I took a career change into enforcement
“Taking the NEBOSH Certificate transformed my life really. It made me realise I was up to the challenge. It was an amazing course. I remember as a group we visited a few sites, completed a report and that’s what gave me my start.”
Linda never hesitates to recommend NEBOSH to her colleagues at Go Ape. She told us that a member of the construction team there was now looking to take the NEBOSH Construction Certificate and she is, as ever, encouraging: “NEBOSH is recognised nationally and worldwide and is a qualification you can take anywhere and gives you that confidence we all sometimes need to go on and progress.”
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