Key Accounts Director, Informa

Author Bio ▼

Angela Coffill has been working within our health and safety portfolio for several years and has developed a passion for the sector. She has extensive exhibition and digital advertising knowledge with more than a decade’s experience in the media industries.
May 5, 2023

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Angela Asks: Rebecca Meek from Shirley Parsons

The return of an old interview series, in which I catch up with key exhibitors of the upcoming Safety & Health Expo in London.

In this interview I speak to Rebecca Meek, Brand Manager at Shirley Parsons, who I have worked closely with for several years. We discuss the changing competencies employers are looking for in health & safety professionals, trends in the market and her plans for Safety & Health Expo.

Shirley Parsons has expanded significantly over the past 12 months. Their Project Services business supports many of the UK’s leading infrastructure projects; their newly launched Talent Consultancy has supported several clients with talent development programmes and their Careers business continues to expand.

Globally, Shirley Parsons have launched new offices in Germany, the Netherlands and Canada and their business in Taiwan has had a stellar year, providing health & safety expertise to renewable energy infrastructure projects. (Their marketing team has been very busy!)

Angela Coffill (AC): Do you expect to see changes in the skills that employers look for in health & safety professionals?

Rebecca Meek (RM): In recent years we have seen employers put an increased focus on the “softer skills”, including communication and teamwork skills.  We expect this to continue as health & safety professionals need to be an integrated part of any successful organisation.  Also, sustainability and ESG continue to be important drivers in business and health & safety professionals who become knowledgeable in these areas will increase their attractiveness in the market, particularly to medium-sized organisations.

I also see technology and AI presenting new opportunities for the health and safety community to get behind – and there’s likely to be shift in skills and competencies required because of those facts.

AC: What trends are you seeing with health & safety professionals?

RM: Our Market Insight survey shows that HSE professionals value good management, they aspire to work for an organisation with a strong safety culture and want to be well rewarded. The cost of living and the demand for good talent has pushed up salaries in the UK.  Our 2023 salary survey, which consisted of over 1600 respondents, shows the average salary of HSE professionals at advisor level has increased by a huge 19%. You can read a synopsis, watch the webinar and download the full report here.

AC: What’s the Beyond HSEQ movement that you launched in October 2022?

Shirley Parsons Beyond HSEQ steering group meeting at the Safety & Health Expo HQ

RM: In a nutshell, it brings together senior HSEQ professionals who want to do things differently.  With our partners The Speaker’s Gym, we’ve hosted two free-to-attend events so far which have focused on a different range of topics each time.  We have a steering committee of HSEQ Directors who help to select the topics and help shape the sessions.  Topics have included communication, technology and purpose.  It’s a movement that is driven by the members and it’s growing and developing every month.

AC: What’s your experience of attending Safety & Health Expo?

RM: We had a great reception to our networking café sponsorship last year and it perfectly suited the launch of our talent consultancy business.  Having small round tables encourages networking, discussion and interaction – and that really suits our new partnership models of working. The space was busy, full of energy, and feedback, both internally and externally, was positive. It was great to host a variety of groups in the space, such as the SHP Rising Stars, Women in Health & Safety, and IOSH branch meetings.

AC: What are you plans for Safety & Health Expo 2023?

RM: We’ll be sharing the findings from our latest Market Insights report and will be showcasing some service lines that attendees may not be as familiar with, including our talent consultancy and our advisory business.

Our collaboration with The Speakers’ Gym, Beyond HSEQ, will feature on the keynote stage along with a panel of top industry names, helping safety and health professionals transform how they communicate. We’ll be running a variety of workshops over the three days, with everything from communication skills, career advice, project support and self-discovery being covered.

There are some brilliant headliners this year and the talks in the Operational Excellence theatres will be a great learning opportunity. I also always love a wander around the Expo, mainly checking out awesome stand designs and cool branding!

Meet Rebecca Meek and the Shirley Parsons team this May in London!

If you’d like to hear more from Rebecca and the team at Shirley Parsons, pop over to the Networking Café and Forum at Safety & Health Expo. The event takes place 16–18 May at the ExCel, London and you can register for your free visitor ticket here.  And you’ll need to register separately for their workshops here.

Their keynotes and workshops will be as follows:

Tuesday 16 May, 12.00 – 12.40, Keynote Theatre

Beyond HSEQ – Transform your communication and break through the concrete ceiling. With speakers:

  • Jonny de Mallet Morgan, The Speakers’ Gym
  • Christopher Wickenden, The Speakers’ Gym
  • David Richmond CBE, Veteran and Advisor to UK Government
  • James Hymers, Head of H&S, Pick Everard
  • Sunit Atwal, QHSE Manager, CBRE
  • Louisa Mead, Safety Implementation & Support Manager, John Lewis Partnership

HSEQ professionals are still not perceived as integral partners to a business’s growth and development. Together with special guests from The Speakers’ Gym, Shirley Parsons, CBRE and Pick Everard, along with veteran and Government advisor David Richmond, we’ll explore how to break through the concrete ceiling and exert the right kind of influence at board level.

We’re not going to be telling you what to do with your hands, how to stand or how to sound. Contrary to the title of this session, it’s not so much about you and your communication skills – your body language, voice, lines of questioning, mirroring techniques and so on. We’re going much deeper. It’s about being clear on your intent, changing mindsets, and better understanding your audiences’ needs – ultimately building higher levels of trust to inspire deeper change.

Attendees are encouraged to join a practical lunchtime workshop in the Shirley Parsons Networking Forum after the session to take away some practical tools and advice.

Tuesday 16 May, 12:45 – 14:00, Networking Forum

Beyond HSEQ – Transform your communication: putting it into practice. With speakers from The Speakers’ Gym.

This workshop is for anyone, at any level, who wants to improve the impact of their public speaking to inspire change. This will be in an informal, yet hands-on, opportunity to transform the way you communicate.

The session dovetails with the themes explored within the earlier Keynote Theatre talk, drawing on insight from The Speakers’ Gym, Shirley Parsons, The Beyond HSEQ Steering Group, CBRE and Pick Everard along with veteran and Government advisor David Richmond – offering you the opportunity to get to grips with some key tools for change, helping to transform the way you communicate and influence others.

Come prepared with a practical communication challenge you’re wanting support with – this could be an upcoming presentation or looming public speaking opportunity. You’ll leave feeling confident and ready to take on your challenge.

Wednesday 17 May and Thursday 18 May, 12:45 – 14:00, Networking Forum

Your HSE challenges clinic, with the Shirley Parsons team

Are you struggling to manage your HSE team effectively?  Have projects running behind? Not sure what techniques to implement? Or is your career at a crossroads and you need advice on your own future?

Come along to the Shirley Parsons drop-in clinic where you can discuss your challenges in confidence with one of our panel of experts.

We’ll have HSE Directors, mentors, career consultants and occupational psychologists available to give insightful and practical advice.  Free, confidential, and useful!

Booking recommended ensure you don’t miss out.

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