• Janet Mary Houston
    Hi All
    I have three health and safety representatives that have completed Stage 2 HSR training and are interested in pursing a career as a H&S Advisor. I understand we have a huge shortfall in NZ and it will only get worse, I am keen to assist as much as possible as all three have shown passion and interest. In my day, it was 4 x stages as HSR, then certificate and onto the Level 6 Diploma. Can anyone suggest what is considered the best pathway today? I have supplied them all with the Hasanz scholarship forms and encouraged them to complete and submit. Your advice would be most appreciated. Thanks
  • Chris Anderson
    Really they just need to start applying for health and safety positions and seeing what's out there. Experience is the best qualification.
  • Philip Aldridge
    I agree they should start applying for health and safety positions. It also depends on what sectors they have worked in, their qualifications and their experience. I suggest they:
    - Join an industry association such as NZISM. They can give advice and potentially provide a mentor. Also they can attend local branch meetings to discuss options in their region.
    - Contact H&S recruiters to get feedback
  • Janet Mary Houston
    I mean what is the next step from H&S Representative to a qualified Health and Safety Advisor?
  • Chris Anderson
    So those are two different things:

    • You don't necessarily need a qualification to become a H&S advisor, they just need to start applying for the role
    • The qualification they want to undertake will be dependent on what they want to achieve. As a minimum I would suggest they work towards a qualification that would give them a GradNZISM membership
  • Andrew
    We don't have "Qualified Health and safety Advisers" as a job. What we have are Health and Safety Advisers who may or may not have a qualification.

    I'm not sure I'd hire a Safety Rep as an Advisor. But I would give them a look in if they showed competencies in:
    - Oral communication (being able to get their message across verbally),
    - written communication (know what to to put in and leave out of a document,),
    - influencing (its not just about the message its also about how its delivered),
    - analysis (this might come from passing a qualification)
    - a customer service ethic (gotta remember the adviser is always serving a customer)
    - along with some commercial acumen.

    I'd be pointing them towards jobs that would develop these competencies.
  • Jon Harper-Slade
    @Janet Mary Houston To pop them on a journey towards being a H&S advisor, I would recommend some initial education on a course such the NEBOSH International Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety. It's a challenging 2 week course, with an exam and post course project to deliver.
    Successful completion of a qualification at that level would enable them to join NZISM as a Technician. NZISM provide great resources and support to allow emerging H&S advisors to progress to Practitioner and Professional level.
    As others have stated, this would sit parallel to providing a broad range of work experience, supervised practice, and essential skills development. Happy to chat if you want any further support and advice :-)
  • E Baxter
    I would advise them to look into H&S courses - there are many on offer at various prices (from the NEBOSH intense course to SIT distance learning there are loads of options - one size does not fit all). In addition to that they need experience - its hard to jump into an advisor role without it. As a step they could look at H&S administrator or H&S Coordinator roles. Depending where they are based joining a professional organization may be of help.
  • Genevieve Power
    If they find exams difficult then NZQA has just approved NZ Certificate in Workplace Health and Safety Level 4 (Co-ordinator) which is an approved qualification by NZISM, not too many providers for it yet though as it’s so new
  • Annalisa
    They could consider as a start 1 paper distance learning to understand the wider overarching components of H&S. These are available via S.I.T, ..I think now also Open Poly also Massey. To attempt a paper is rewarding and gives oversight. From that they then can decide whether to continue on the path of the Jedi.....oops I mean a HS professional
  • Take 5 OHS Consultants
    I am currently doing SIT Diploma in H&S via correspondence, it is a good course and providing me with a lot of knowledge that I can implement into my current role. The price point on this course is great value for the information received.
  • Brook Rush
    @Janet Mary Houston I am an HSR who is pursuing a career in health and safety. My first step was to join NZISM and I have already been to a couple of their events, such as listening to Dr Todd Conklin. I am fortunate that my employer is covering the cost for me to complete my Level 6 Diploma currently via distance learning. My workplace has also arranged for me to do a part time secondment to another business in the same sector as their H&S Advisor is going away for 12 months. This is going to be an amazing way to gain experience, but still have a lot of support while I am learning. I wonder if doing more things such as secondments is a possibility for other sectors - it is a great way to gain real life experience, help another business fill a short term gap and the main employer benefits from an upskilled employee when they return.
  • robyn moses
    I think the country has lots of (theory) based qualified HS personnel who lack practicable work experience. I know many companies who will not employ HS personnel with no practicable experience in my view this is due to in HS there is black and white and then there is the grey area - it is about knowing what battles you need to fight - pedantic HS can increase business costs by fighting all the battles immediately instead of conducting good risk assessment and parking some in the grey area while focussing on the big ticket items. I have not looked for a while so do not know if it is still current but Worksafe required anyone applying to become an investigator to have a minimum of 5 years work experience. I would urge any newbies to get work experience even if it is as a HS rep. within your organisation.
  • Craig
    One thing to keep in mind.
    I got myself a diploma in occ H&S last October and still haven't been able to find work due to the "can't get experience because I need experience" loop.
    I have been a H&S rep, helped a manager with improving H&S, did volunteering for a charity to help them improve H&S, but still haven't been able to find work.
    Make sure to tell them that it could be hard to find work and they may encounter what I call "application burnout" where they just want to pack it all in and do something else.
    If they get to that point, whatever they decide, just give them fair warning.
    Hopefully it doesn't happen to them and they walk right into a decent job.

    But hopefully not because that would just prove that I am a weirdo or something.
  • LouiseB
    Hi Janet,

    I have just done this exact thing! I was a safety representative at my workplace and now I'm just about to start my new role for my company as a health and safety advisor. I got there by being a safety representative at my workplace and then expanding on the representative role.

    We have a limited health and safety structure here which allowed me to take on small projects, chair safety meetings, practice communication skills, report writing, practise talking to management and learning how staff engage with health and safety in my workplace. @Jon Harper-Slade and @E Baxter both mention a NEBOSH course, which I highly recommend as it gives such a good foundation to add to knowledge already accumulated. I was lucky that my company supported me doing a NEBOSH International Certificate in Occupational Health. The NEBOSH course is intense and recommend taking time off work to make sure you complete comfortably without too much stress.

    Apart from that making sure that you encourage them to attend a variety of workshops to gain exposure to different area of health and safety e.g. domestic violence, mental health, hazardous chemicals, crucial conversions etc.

    Although I still have a lot to learn I feel more confident that I can now start to combine my knowledge and experience much easier than I would have been able to before.
  • MattD2
    Hi @Janet Mary Houston if you are in (or close to) one of the "major" NZ cities, e.g. Auckland / Wellington / Christchurch / and now Tauranga, you should check out the Emerging Safety Leaders Networks which is a new initiative set up by NZISM - https://www.nzism.org/esl-network/
    Your keen H&S reps are actually one of the target groups for the ESL, who's goals include supporting more people to develop a career in the H&S profession.
    The network is new (Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington have recently held their first get togethers, with Tauranga's coming very soon) - if you (or your team) are interested it would be good to get them to complete the current ESL Survey which will help us focus on what best meet the needs of those that come along - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TFMB228
    Cheers and if you have any questions feel free to message me.
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