Thinking about taking the NEBOSH Diploma? Go for it!

Case Study: Debbie Mitchell


Why do 87% of employers specify a NEBOSH qualification by name when seeking to appoint health and safety managers and advisors? Our own research shows that one big reason is because employers value people who are willing to put themselves through a robust and broad examination of professional knowledge and practice.

Debbie Mitchell, 41, who is currently part way through her NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety, is Health, Safety and Environment Manager at Bournemouth Airport.

“It is a relatively small regional airport with just under 700,000 passengers annually, but being such a diverse environment it obviously has its own challenges. It can be a risky environment with passengers, multi-million pound aircraft and vehicles all coming together in one place. From a health and safety perspective the diversity makes it is really interesting. It is almost like a small town. You’ve got your offices and shops, you have your warehousing, and there are more specified hazards, for example radiation and the control of noise exposure.”

Debbie started her career as an Environmental Health Officer having completed a Masters in Environmental Health. She originally worked at the airport approximately 12 years ago as Environment Manager. After a period in the public sector in Cornwall working in Health and Safety enforcement she returned to the airport but with additional health and safety responsibilities.

Debbie first started thinking about taking the NEBOSH Diploma a few years ago. “I started thinking that it would be a valuable qualification to have.  Because of its reputation and the wide scope of the course I thought it would be really interesting and give me confidence within my role, bridging any gaps in my knowledge”.  She is studying the diploma via distance learning to fit in with working full time and being a Mum. “This is the first time I have undertaken distance learning, so I didn’t really know what to expect.  I just thought, you know what I’ll just give it a go and so far I have definitely surpassed my expectations with my results. I have genuinely enjoyed the course and I feel my overall knowledge, and along with it confidence, has improved immeasurably.”

She certainly did do well. Not only did she score highly in Unit A., she won the NEBOSH annual ‘Best Candidate Award’ for Unit B: Hazardous Agents in the Workplace. Debbie’s accolade meant she got to attend the NEBOSH Graduation Ceremony at University of Warwick in June 2018, where she picked up the award. “It was a great day. I met some amazing people who really believe in the importance of the basic principles of Health and Safety in the workplace.  The whole ceremony was incredibly well organized and there was a genuine buzz in the air.  I have to say, we have a lovely team at the Airport and we all get along really well.  I remember laughing when they asked me when I would be going to pick up my ‘clever clogs’ award!”

Debbie had this advice for those thinking of taking the diploma. “Anyone like me, who has worked in the profession for a while and hasn’t yet taken their Diploma, I’d say just go ahead and do it. When you haven’t studied for a while, it can be a bit daunting, and of course you have to work hard, but the return on investment in terms of knowledge, skills, practical application and career opportunities makes it really worthwhile. My confidence has grown and I feel respected because I’m progressing with such a well recognised qualification.”

Best of luck with the rest of your studies Debbie!

  • National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety