Historically health and safety professionals have tended to work within one sector for the entirety of their career. However candidates like you are increasingly looking to move between sectors to build their skill-set in preparation for a move further up the career ladder.
Transferring from manufacturing to construction can be a hard transition to make, but not an impossible one, as long as you are committed and willing to gain the necessary knowledge and skills. A strong candidate will have researched the area of construction they are interviewing for, will be able to use key terminology in the right context and be familiar with the latest industry trends. On nearly every occasion where we at Hays have helped candidates move sectors these have been professionals who are determined and willing to gain construction experience alongside their current manufacturing role. I highly advise completing the NEBOSH Construction Certificate in addition to your qualifications as your first step to making the move. This will demonstrate your seriousness about moving into the construction industry. The next step is to gain hands-on experience.
We often hear our manufacturing clients taking on machinery upgrade projects or extending their factories to increase capacity. These are superb opportunities for safety professionals to gain hands-on construction experience. Your current company will most likely be undertaking these sorts of projects so try to be involved in them. Any interviewer will want to hear of your initiative to gain construction safety experience. So make sure you talk about your hands-on experience with your potential new employer as it demonstrates a commitment to the industry.
Hiring managers traditionally preferred candidates from their industry as they’ve been exposed to similar risks and safety issues that are only applicable to that sector. To a degree this is still true for certain sectors like rail, nuclear or oil and gas but the number of professionals able to successfully transfer is beginning to increase. Transferring sectors can benefit both you and your new employer. You will expand your knowledge and experience of the health and safety industry to become a sought-after candidate and your new employer will gain an employee with a fresh outlook and new ideas. So if you have done your research, have some basic construction experience and can demonstrate a real desire to learn and add value to the sector, you can make this move. Good luck!
Caroline Binns is a Director at recruiting experts Hays Health & Safety. Hays Health & Safety recruits health and safety professionals for permanent and temporary roles across the UK.
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