From apprentices to graduates, here are the best entry points for people looking for a career in health and safety.
There are many different roles and job titles in the health and safety profession, and it can be hard to navigate just which job is right for those with different levels of experience.
For graduates, there are several employers that offer graduate schemes, which will typically specialise in pure occupational health and safety. These are often provided by larger organisations such as Nestlé or Amazon, and these will typically be branded as graduate-level roles and provide a comprehensive introduction to the profession.
Those who have undertaken apprenticeships, meanwhile, may be attracted by an entry-level job, or want to consider other learning opportunities, such as degree apprenticeships.
Both groups, however, will need to think a bit about the type of organisation they want to work for, as this will often have an impact on the nature of the health and safety role. Working in the chemical industry or manufacturing industry will present different experiences to more office-based industries, where employee wellbeing might be more of a focus. Other prominent industries include healthcare, environmental science, construction and engineering.
Match your skills
Think here about what you’d enjoy and your own skills: for instance, whether you’d like to be in a compliance-heavy inspector role that requires more technical knowledge, or whether a consultancy with a stronger emphasis on softer skills might be a better fit. Perhaps there were certain elements of your degree or apprenticeship which you enjoyed more than others. This could be a good indication of how you might want to develop your career.
Another factor to think about is travel, and whether you’d want to be part of an international business. This will appeal to some people, but could be seen as a drawback by others.
Anyone looking for jobs in the profession should cast their net as wide as possible when it comes to job titles. While many jobs are advertised as ‘health and safety officers’ or ‘health and safety advisers’, others may be broader both in their description and responsibilities. Other key terms that may include health and safety responsibilities include:
- Chemical safety
- Quality assurance
- Safety engineer
These roles may well be predominantly health and safety posts, and may even be labelled in a misleading manner, but failing to search for them – or to consider them if they do come up – could mean missing out on that job entirely. While there will be some differences between the various roles, they will all include similarities too, so it’s worth taking an open-minded approach and assessing each one individually to see if it’s a good fit based on your skills and knowledge.
The good news for anyone looking for a career in the health and safety profession is that OSH professionals are in high demand.
For example, the profession is set to grow by 5% in the UK by 2027, and by 15.9% in Australia by 2026. It’s no surprise that, for many individuals, it is now becoming a career of choice.