NEBOSH Fire Certificate: never too late to start learning

Jeremy Elward, Compliance Engineer at Tata Steel, trained for the NEBOSH Fire Certificate with Capital People. We’ve asked him a few questions about his experience.

What role were you working in prior to taking this qualification?

I was a front-line engineer in a steelmaking casting plant. I had responsibility for people and the plant, and the only Health and Safety (H&S) qualification I had was IOSH and a few safety training days.

A little over 10 years ago, I moved roles into a training and development position. This opened my eyes to the courses that were available and the benefits these courses had for the business and people. The first few years I didn’t pursue any training for myself, but as we were facing mass redundancies and possible plant closure, I decided to upskill myself in an academic way. I had the opportunity to sign up for a degree, which I successfully completed 3 years ago. This then gave me the bug to learn more.

I was a member of the H&S team within my works area, and with my plant knowledge and nearly 35 years’ experience, I become a point of contact for H&S issues. Soon after, I was appointed as Fire and Environmental manager in the same team. Whilst in that role, I felt I needed more training and wanted to get NEBOSH under my belt. I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend.

What made you decide to study for this qualification?

After gaining my NEBOSH General certificate, I really wanted to get my NEBOSH Fire Certificate more than I wanted to get my degree. Whilst I was in the Fire & Environment (F&E) role, I learnt I had a great interest in fire safety and dealt with the fire insurers for the business, so wanted to gain more knowledge on the subject. My new role involved the refurbishment and upgrade of buildings and contactor rooms – many of which were occupied but did not have any fire detection systems. I wanted to make an impact on fire safety in my works area and justified to my manager I needed to gain the fire certificate. I was approved, attended and passed.

What were the main challenges in studying this qualification?

Study time.

What part of the best part of the training?

I was able to use pretty much everything I had learnt, not just in the workplace but at home too with our own fire safety standards. I own a welding set and have been manufacturing metal railings in my garage, therefore I need to be conscious of fire safety as my house could catch fire. Materials and training gave me a better insight how fires start, the impact of fires, the legal side, and the effect on property and people.

How has this achievement changed your career?

The whole course has helped me in my role. I am seen as point of knowledge in my works area, I am able to hold my head up and answer questions confidentially, and advise the current F&E manager.

How did you find the learning experience with Capital?

The whole experience of learning at Capital People was brilliant. The facilities were first class, the relaxed atmosphere, the welcome we had from the other employees working there. Not once did we feel out of place. We were made to feel like we were part of their team and we were only there for a week.

The instructors were great. They delivered the course at a pace to suit everyone and went back over course material to ensure it was understood. I enjoyed every minute of it. The food was excellent, too. It was a pleasure to go there. I enjoyed every minute.

Lastly, what advice would you give those wanting to develop/start their career in Health & Safety?

H&S is becoming more prevalent each day, therefore pursuing a career in this field can be a lifelong career taking you to every corner of the world. It is in every organisation, so the opportunities are endless.  I do advise the younger people to consider a career path within H&S as I feel it can be rewarding especially when you are making your workplace a safer environment.

Finally, it is never too late to start learning.