My NEBOSH success really boosted my confidence

NEBOSH spoke to David Routledge, Health and Safety Business Partner - National Contracting Services at AGGREGATE Industries UK Limited, about his career and the part NEBOSH qualifications have played in his success.

I have noticed that you have been in the building materials industry for some time now! What made you begin your career in this industry?

I will be honest; it was by chance. I had graduated from university with a degree in business and computer science, but I was not attracted to any jobs in that field. I had taken a logistics job in the freight industry and a friend made me aware of an opportunity at the building materials company he was working at. I applied and took the job on the assumption that I would do it for six months or so until something else came up. That was eighteen years ago!

At what point did health and safety become a focus?

Around ten years ago. I had a fair bit of front-line operational experience by then and having seen the work the health and safety team did I found it really appealed to me. I wasn't willing to leave the company I was working for at that time, so I had to wait for an opportunity to come up.

What made you decide to take the National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety?

A vacancy was advertised internally for a Health and Safety Compliance Trainer, I applied and was successful. The offer was made on the understanding that I completed a professional health and safety qualification. After discussing my options with my manager, we decided the NEBOSH General Certificate was the best choice for me, and I was booked on a course. 

I see you then went on to take the National Construction Certificate, what was the reason for this?

Shortly after moving into my new role, my company merged with another large company in our sector. I was concerned that my job maybe at risk because of the restructure that would inevitably follow. I realised that I probably needed more skills and knowledge to broaden my options should the worst happen.  I decided to build on my knowledge gained through the successful completion of the General Certificate and complete the NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety.

How did you find studying both of these qualifications?  

When I started the General Certificate, I hadn't studied for almost 10 years, and I wasn't at all confident. This perhaps made me work harder than I might have done otherwise. I am glad to say that this paid off for me as I managed to get a distinction in both qualifications. More importantly though I had a lot more knowledge and my NEBOSH success really boosted my confidence.

What impact did they have on your day-to-day job role?

I found that my NEBOSH studies enabled me to explain health and safety concepts in greater depth and with more confidence which was really useful in my training role. The qualifications also give you more credibility for when your opinion or advice is challenged.

What made you decide to take the NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety?

After a period back in a non-health and safety operational role I was offered the chance to go back into health and safety full time. The offer once again had a caveat attached to it! To help me perform at the required level in the new role, I was asked to complete the NEBOSH National Diploma. I jumped at the chance as it was widely regarded, suited my learning style perfectly and I was hoping to build a career in the field

How has this helped you in your current role as Health & Safety Business Partner at Aggregate Industries?

Without a doubt, having the NEBOSH Diploma under my belt has given me a greater awareness of some of the more complex issues that you have to deal with as a health and safety professional. Working in such a diverse and complex organisation means that the full breadth of knowledge is called upon and without the Diploma I would have found this a far greater challenge. The knowledge gained also enables me to contribute as part of a highly skilled and experienced health and safety team.

Would you recommend the Diploma? If so, why?

I would advocate that anyone who wishes to pursue a career in health and safety seriously considers the NEBOSH Diploma. There is no doubt that it is hard work, and at times I found it very challenging. You must have the discipline to sit down and study, even after a long day or week at work but it is achievable if you are prepared to put in the work. It was a very proud moment when I eventually passed!