There are many ways to build a career

Case Study: Wendy Emery - CHSG

What can a medical secretary who has worked for their local newspaper and a community of friars possibly do to improve health and safety in the construction industry? Meet Wendy Emery.

Wendy’s interesting and varied career began around 30 years ago when she gained a medical secretarial qualification and started work with the British Medical Association (BMA) in London.

Originally from Kent, Wendy moved back home a few years later and landed a job with the regional newspaper the Kent Messenger. Her initial role was once again secretarial, but after she started taking on responsibility for things like her employer’s insurance portfolio and claims incidents, Wendy’s position began to change. Before she knew it, her job was more that of a risk management and compliance officer, than a secretary.

Later she became involved in transport management, looking after a fleet of 250 company cars and vans, before then working for a property management firm. It was at this point Wendy decided to add the NEBOSH General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety to a variety of risk management qualifications she’d collected along the way.

Having passed her NEBOSH General Certificate, where else would Wendy go to work other than for a community of Carmelite Friars based at Aylesford Priory in the heart of Kent?

“It’s not as strange as it may sound,” explained Wendy. “The medieval Priory House had 80 members of staff at the time across many functions, such as grounds, estates, catering, reception, office employees and so on. There are conference centres, a guest house, tea rooms, a gift shop and forty five acres of land.

“I was general manager there and had responsibility for general day to day management as well as risk management and health and safety.” Fast-forward to the present day and Wendy is now Learning & Development Director at the Construction Health and Safety Group (CHSG). The Group was formed in 1952, has around 500 member organisations and its core aim is to “protect and preserve occupational health and safety in the construction Industry.” A key part of this is training, including the delivery of courses leading to the NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety.

Wendy’s background makes her ideal for the job. She effectively runs the show, so her administrative and operational experience, combined with her knowledge of health and safety, really comes to the fore.

However, a big part of what Wendy does involves advising people from the construction industry on their training and qualifications needs. That’s why one of the first things she did when she started at CHSG was to pass her NEBOSH Construction Certificate.

“It’s helped me fulfil my role here,” said Wendy. “Holding the NEBOSH qualification, which provides a broad underpinning of all aspects of construction safety, means I have a better understanding of customer needs and the path they should follow.

“I see the Construction Certificate giving people in the industry the confidence to know the advice they’re giving is correct. It helps them develop the people they’re working with to make sure the industry as a whole is working safely.”