Peter McAuley case study

“The course has broadened my knowledge base and increased my skillset”

It’s been an exciting year of progression for health and safety manager Peter McAuley. Not only has he had the opportunity to develop his role at Optima Health, he is also the first person to gain the NCFE IOSH Level 3 Certificate in Safety and Health for Business.

“I started with the company some ten years ago, he said. “Up until June this year, I was largely responsible for financing and invoicing. I had been involved in supporting the company’s health and safety provision at a site level for a while, but more recently an opportunity arose for me to join another part of the organisation and progress my career in health and safety in a more formal capacity.”

Optima Health is a provider of health and wellbeing services, employing over 750 people who work across 300 sites throughout the UK.

Peter had already completed IOSH’s Managing Safely training but, to enable him to manage the health and safety needs of multiple sites with a wide geographical spread, he felt it was important to develop his knowledge further and gain a recognised qualification.

“The NCFE IOSH Level 3 Certificate was recommended while I was completing my Managing Safely refresher course as a suitable next step for my professional development,” he said. “I was lucky to find training provider IED and was pleased to see that the course assessment was based on assignments rather than exams. I completed the course of ten days over a six-week period, and although it is a fairly intensive programme, you receive guidance and support from a tutor throughout.”

As Optima Health embarked on a period of organisational change, Peter felt that this qualification would be particularly relevant to the company’s specific needs. The changing environment meant that having someone solely focused on employee health and safety was of high importance.

“The course covered topics that were applicable to my role,” he said. “For example the importance of installing an effective health and safety system and changing the culture of health and safety within an organisation. I feel that the course has broadened my knowledge base and increased my skillset within health and safety management, and I feel better equipped to instil an effective health and safety culture for the benefit of our employees. The case studies and course book (the bible!) continue to be a really useful reference source as I start to build a new health and safety strategy for the company as it evolves.”

Peter says that the qualification has given him the knowledge to create a safer and better environment for staff, while also helping to improve employee retention across the whole company.

“I am now able to look at our organisation’s health and safety journey, where we are now and where we need to be,” he added. “I want to build our current health and safety compliance up to a more positive health and safety system, that is impactful for all our employees. Right now, I am on a fact-finding mission, looking at all our sites to establish where they are in terms of health and safety and what we can improve or change. I’m looking to develop health and safety reps in our branches around the country, who can help to disseminate information and establish some local health and safety knowledge. I am also starting the process of developing a health and safety toolbox, so that the reps and I can talk about systems, issues and any support needed. I have been able to form many of these ideas based on learnings from the course.”

Beyond the health and safety of employees, Peter believes that other parts of the business are set to benefit from his advanced training, including supporting the organisation’s business development goals.

“We have found that potential customers and suppliers feel reassured if there is someone at the company who has a recognised qualification in health and safety management,” he said. “The role often supports the bidding process for new contracts, specifically clients with safety critical processes and also with central and local government. There are some contracts that the business couldn’t pursue if there were no health and safety representative in place, demonstrating the significance of the role and the importance of gaining a professional qualification. Once I am more settled into my new role, I hope to progress towards IOSH membership and am looking into completing an IOSH grad course.”

Find out more about the qualification.