From education to employment

Health and safety apprenticeship scheme sees Ethan grow

As England marks #NationalApprenticeshipWeek this week (8-14 February), the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the global body for safety and health professionals, is giving free IOSH Student memberships to the first 250 Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Technician apprentices to apply.

Ethan Mahoney-Roberts (23), from Liverpool, became one of the 250 last year when taking his SHE apprenticeship with facilities maintenance company Integral UK Ltd, in Warrington. This led to a bright start to 2021 for Ethan when, having completed his apprenticeship, he was promoted to a more senior role at Integral. He has also progressed his IOSH membership, moving from student member to Tech IOSH status.

Ethan’s first jobs were in warehousing and logistics but he quickly developed a fascination for health and safety. He could see its strong operational focus but he says he could also see how much it was about driving a safe, positive culture in the workplace and that was something he wanted to be a part of.

“I remember telling my cousin, who works on a nuclear site, how thrilled I was to get the apprentice role and to launch my career in health and safety,” says Ethan.

“He thought he’d bring me down to earth by telling me that, working in the health and safety team, I might not be the most popular person on site! But I wasn’t fazed because I believed that with the right training and experience I could change people’s attitudes and get them to see health and safety as a helpful, as well as essential part of any business or organisation,” he added.

Completing the apprenticeship saw Ethan write 10 assignments while also spending a lot of time learning on and off the job, visiting engineers and operations managers, going on site tours and so on. He did a lot of his assignment work on the train, travelling to and from Integral’s sites across the country.

“I find it very rewarding, finding out more about those you meet in the workplace, what they’re trying to achieve and if there’s a problem, or something needs improving, to look at it together and see what can be done. I’ve learned that it’s not enough just to be the health and safety ‘police officer’ – you have to be understanding, to constantly learn from people and to show that you want to work with them, not against them in any way,” said Ethan.

Yash Kapila, Managing Director at Integral UK Ltd, was delighted with Ethan’s progress, saying: “Ethan has now been with us for more than two years and during that time has actively contributed to the business and as such is an excellent example of how our apprentices develop and add value within Integral.

“He has successfully juggled the management of his day-job and training interventions and has recently taken up the role of Assistant Health & Safety Advisor within the safety team.

“I’ve really enjoyed watching Ethan develop his skill sets in this vitally important area, and I now look forward to seeing him flourish in his new role. Well done!”

The Safety, Health and Environment apprenticeship has been developed by a ‘Trailblazer’ group of employers and approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education. IOSH was consulted and engaged during its 18-month development, ensuring the standard of the apprenticeship is appropriate and robust, and that it covers the relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours required for IOSH Technical Membership. IOSH is now considered the secretariat for the apprenticeship, while employers, like Integral, will continue to make decisions and provide direction.

“Seeing apprentices succeed and progress in a career in occupational safety and health is just great to see and good news for safer workplaces and better businesses,” said Chris Kurylec, IOSH Member Engagement Manager.

“Now, with his free IOSH student membership that came with taking the SHE Technician apprenticeship, complete with its access to the IOSH Career Hub and a wealth of training and networking opportunities, plus membership of our Future Leaders Community, Ethan has found himself an even greater pool of learning and support to drawn on,” he added.

“I’m delighted to see that all this convinced Ethan to progress his IOSH membership to become one of our Technical members.”

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