‘Since gaining this qualification I’ve changed jobs internally twice’: In conversation with Vanessa Hill
In an exclusive interview, the best NEBOSH Diploma candidate for 2018, Vanessa Hill speaks to SHP about how the course has helped progress her career.
Vanessa Hill completed her NEBOSH National Diploma last year, with RRC Trainer Zoe Neasham. She went on to be crowned the best NEBOSH Diploma Candidate for 2018, after achieving the highest overall mark both nationally and internationally.
What was your motivation to study this qualification?
Vanessa Hill (VH): “As a HSE Professional working in the Renewable Energy sector (Offshore Wind); I feel it is essential to maintain your professional development. I had been working in Health and Safety for almost five years and felt it was the right time to undertake additional studies to increase my level of competence. I wanted to broaden my knowledge of certain health and safety topics I had less experience in and develop a wider understanding of the subject as a whole.
“I also considered career development. I knew having a formal qualification would support my progression when searching for new roles. As the NEBOSH Diploma is an internationally recognised qualification and is respected across the industry, I felt this was the qualification for me.”
What were the challenges when studying for the NEBOSH Diploma?
(VH): “Initially, I found some of the content challenging to understand – the topics are not difficult, however some of the material covered aspects of health and safety which I had no previous experience of. I find it easier to relate to things where I’ve had direct exposure or practical experience of them. I read thoroughly and asked questions in the classroom. Once I got the theories into my head I had no problem.
“Another challenge was finding time to study. Between full-time work; managing family commitments and trying to maintain a (limited) social life, it was sometimes difficult to find time and motivation. I had to prioritise revision and be strict, but I tried to view it as being fun, rather a chore. I invented interesting ways to include family, friends and work colleagues in my revision. NEBOSH Trivial Pursuit at Christmas was a particular family favourite!”
Did you aim to become the best Diploma candidate of the year?
(VH): “During the first week of the course, our trainer Zoe Neasham was discussing pass marks and casually mentioned there was an award for Best Candidate. When I heard this I immediately thought to myself ‘I want that award’.
“Whilst I joked in class about winning it, I didn’t want to encounter any unnecessary pressure as the course is hard enough, however I did think about winning it. I used the idea to keep me motivated. I contemplated how I’d feel if I missed out by one mark. It wasn’t about being better than anyone else – I wanted to be proud of myself.”
How has this achievement changed your career?
(VH): “The NEBOSH Diploma has changed my life for the better. Since gaining this qualification I’ve changed jobs internally twice. My first move was an internal promotion into a cross-departmental support role, where I took on responsibility for the HSE Management System implementation and acted as Lead Internal Audit Coordinator. Having the background knowledge from the NEBOSH Diploma aided me, meaning I could comment on a wider range of subjects.
“I’ve recently changed roles again and moved into a newly formed HSE Project Management Office where I’ll be working on exciting cross-functional and cross-portfolio projects. Focusing on driving changes in the way we work and looking to standardise our processes across the organisation to support our goal of delivering world class QHSE. My first project includes setting up a new Integrated Management System for the entire organisation; I know that what I learnt in my Diploma will be invaluable in this role.
“Additionally, I feel more confident in my abilities. It’s given me an increased level of credibility among my colleagues; I find people approach me for advice and ask for my input on topics.”
Do you have any plans to study further?
(VH): “I want to undertake another formal qualification at some point. I have a passion for learning and consider myself a life-long learner. I want to broaden my knowledge and awareness of Environmental Management to be a better-rounded ‘HSE’ professional. In future I’m hoping to undertake the NEBOSH Environmental Diploma, and eventually I’d like to study for a Masters degree.”
How did you find the learning experience with RRC?
(VH): “The support from RRC was excellent – the tutors were very knowledgeable and have practical experience of undertaking the Diploma. This was helpful when asking questions or trying to understand topics. They managed to keep delivery of the course content engaging, even on the ‘heavier’ subjects. Their support and willingness to assist outside of the classroom was superb, consequently everyone on the course felt confident in the preparation for our exams.
“The course material provided by RRC was user friendly and easy to understand, covering the topics comprehensively but keeping it relevant and made learning and preparing for exams much easier. I truly believe that choosing RRC as my course provider contributed to my success in studying for the NEBOSH Diploma. I would not hesitate to use RRC for any future courses or qualifications and would recommend them to anyone.”
RRC Managing Director Gary Fallaize commented on Vanessa’s success. He said: “We are extremely proud to be the course provider for such a successful student like Vanessa. She is a credit to herself and us. We look forward to teaching future award winners.’’
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