My first NEBOSH Diploma felt like a quantum leap for my career

Case Study: Khaled Yousry

Khaled Yousry is a dedicated Health and Safety professional who has worked his way up to the position of HSSE and FM Director. In this interview Khaled talks about his career and shares the advice he would give to those starting out in our profession.

Khaled, your first health and safety role was four years into your working life. How did this come about?

I studied Chemistry at university in Egypt, so my first two jobs were in that field. In 2002, I was lucky enough to secure a position as a SHE chemist and this marked the start of my safety career. I gained lots of experience in this role including maintaining accreditations, developing policies, completing risk assessments, and delivering safety training.

In 2008 I secured my first HSE management position when I was appointed HSE Operations Manager by Electrolux – Egypt. This was a great move for me not least because Electrolux encouraged me to take a professional qualification to back up my experience. After researching my options, I signed up to the NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety and passed with Distinction. Despite having 8 years’ experience, I gained so much knowledge from my studies and implemented some new risk control measures as a result.

That is good to hear! I can see that you were appointed to a safety role in Kuwait in 2011. Did your NEBOSH International General Certificate help you secure this position?

Definitely. I was keen to make the move and I had lots of practical and managerial HSE experience to offer the company. However, without my NEBOSH International General Certificate I would not have made it onto the shortlist. 

Can you tell us about Refrigeration Industries and Storage Company (RIC); the company you joined in 2011 and still work for today?

Sure. Refrigeration Industries Company is a group holding company with diversified interests in air conditioning manufacturing, contracting and services. It is recognised in the region for its engineering capabilities and management excellence. RIC and its subsidiaries offer high quality heating, ventilation and air conditioning products and services to its residential and commercial customers.

Your progression since joining RIC has been impressive! You started as a HSE department manager and are now HSSE and FM Director. Do you have any tips for others hoping for similar success?

The secret to my success is a combination of my personal dedication and the amazing support I have received from RIC.

The top management team at RIC support all its employees’ career development and provide the working environment and resources we need to succeed.

I also believe adopting a target orientated approach has been key for me. Throughout my career I have had a development plan which has identified what I need to do to take the next step I want to make for my career. NEBOSH qualifications have featured heavily in my plans because I know I will gain rich and relevant knowledge and that they are valued highly by employers too.

I can see you have completed NEBOSH International Diplomas in both Health and Safety and Environmental Management since joining RIC. Did you enjoy the courses and how have they benefitted you?

In 2013, I passed my NEBOSH Health and Safety Diploma. It felt like a quantum leap for my career and really helped me develop. It encouraged me to come up with lots of ideas, which when implemented, led to improvements in RIC’s operations.

In 2019 I got my second NEBOSH Diploma, this time in Environmental Management, and again found I could immediately put into practice what I had learnt to bring about improvements to our environmental management.  Three months after passing my second NEBOSH Diploma, I secured my current role as HSSE-FM Director for RIC.

Amazing! Can you tell us a little more about this?

I was appointed to the role in February 2020. I am now responsible for all HSSE operations plus facilities management too. It is a large role with lots of responsibility. I am getting involved in the rollout of the latest technology and smart safe buildings which will help us achieve our ultimate goal of ZERO HARM Culture.  I am enjoying my new role and the opportunity it is giving me to make a bigger difference because of my broader remit.

What do you enjoy most about working in health and safety and is there anything you do not like?

I enjoy helping others and take great satisfaction from knowing that I help people go home at the end of the day safe and satisfied.

What I do not like is when, despite our best efforts, others choose to not work safely. It annoys me when I see anyone failing to prioritise their own life by practicing unsafe behaviours; ignoring their family’s need for them to come home safely at the end of their working day. 

In your current role, I am sure you will get involved in recruiting other health and safety practitioners. What do you look for from candidates?

The shortlisted candidates will all have the experience and qualifications that are essential for the role because these will have been specified in our advert. So, when I am interviewing, I primarily focus on their attitude, enthusiasm, and dedication. I believe you can help people enhance their knowledge and experience, but changing their personality is trickier if you can even do it all!  Our careers are all about teaching others and encouraging them to work in a safe manner, so it is important that health and safety practitioners are capable of influencing others.  

What would be your advice to anyone at the start of their health and safety career? 

I would recommend finding yourself good mentors who can offer you the guidance and advice you need to succeed.

As I said previously, having a career development plan has helped me, so I would encourage others to take the time to create their own and to update it regularly.

I also think it is vital to ensure your experience is backed up by relevant and recognised qualifications because based on my personal experience, this opens up more opportunities. For me, the NEBOSH General Certificate was a great starting point so I would recommend that specifically. Good luck, and follow your passion.

How has your NEBOSH qualification helped you? Email us with your story: