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Student Blog: The many different ways of achieving your potential

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“Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.”

My name is Adam Gomes and I am a Chartered Health and Safety Consultant. My story starts just ten years ago when I started working as a receptionist in a local hospital in the NHS. Up until that point I had always wanted to be a police officer and believed I would end up in this career. Recruitment drives were always few and far between for the police so in between waiting for the opportunity I decided I would work in any role to get some money through the door. To gain experience I joined the Special Police Constabulary and then one day my big opportunity came up. The Police were recruiting again, I tried extremely hard and got to the very end of the process and unfortunately didn’t make the cut. I was gutted to say the least, I felt like my dream role had been snatched away from me.

I was down for a few days but my boss at the time called me into his office, sat me down and said to me ‘Now what’s next?’. I told him that I wanted to try again, and he suggested that I consider a career in health and safety as I was good with that on our site. I told my wife and she agreed and said weigh the two career paths up and see what you think. I went away and thought about what both had said and started considering what qualifications and experience were required to become a health and safety adviser. I then mapped out a 5-10-year career path plan and within a couple of months, I managed to get a place on a scheme where my company at the time would pay for a course. I decide to choose and carry out an e-learning Nebosh National General Certificate in Health and Safety. I really enjoyed this course and it opened up an opportunity to work in this area. After a while though I soon realised that the only way I could progress my health and safety education was to self-fund. Over the next 8 years I self-funded many courses at great expense in relation to time and finances. Most of the time if you are self-funding you can negotiate on the price, look for special offers or even get payment plans to make it easier.

I worked with a colleague though who was disgruntled at the fact that he felt he wasn’t progressing in his career and he believed that his employer should pay for more courses to help him. I told him about self-funding but to him the idea that he would have to spend his own time and money was outrageous. I appreciated his opinion and could understand where he was coming from but 8 years later he is still in the same role where I am pleased to say I have managed to move on. My thoughts on this are that yes it cost me a lot of my own money which I could have been spending on things like holidays etc and it cost me in time when I could have been off on adventures but without the work I put in I can honestly say I would probably still be doing the receptionist role, dreaming of joining the police.

Over the past 5 years I have noticed a trend in health and safety roles and this is that companies are merging these together with other roles. What started off as a H&S Manager now is normally anything from HSE Manger (Health, Safety, Environment) all the way to HSQEI Manger (Health, Safety, Quality, Environment and Information Security). I have tried to stay ahead of the game by carrying out qualifications in these areas and gaining experience through my work. This is what lead me to the Online Business School and the Level 7 Extended Diploma in Strategic Management. I think I am very well rounded in my HSQEI qualifications but I wanted to understand more about business. I believe that this is a crucial link to help understand why health and safety decisions are made in companies. The OBS course has aided me in understanding a wide range of business theories and topics which have helped me already see how a business works, marketing strategies used and ways of gaining more clients. I am currently carrying out my assignments and am really enjoying the course.

Nowadays I have two children and a third imminent, so I have very little free time which is another reason why I liked the OBS online course as I can do it as and when I can fit it in. I am hoping that once I complete this course I can do the online MBA and build upon my strategic health and safety skills.

Like the quote at the start I believe that if you are unhappy with your current situation then through realistic planning and hard work you can get to where you want to be and achieve your potential.

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