After completing her first degree at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Chloe switched her studies to an MSc in occupational health, safety and wellbeing. Although she was in the final stages of completing her dissertation, in 2018 Chloe managed to secure a 10-week internship at Rolls-Royce, which has since been extended to a graduate role. She is also part of IOSH’s Future Leaders Programme and attended IOSH’s first Future Leaders Conference in 2019.
Q: Your first degree covered public health nutrition. What prompted you to continue your studies with an MSc in OSH and wellbeing?
I have always had a passion for helping others, so I knew that is what I wanted from my career. When I found the prospectus for the master’s course, it looked like the perfect role for me. My course director encouraged me to undertake a certificate to see if I liked OSH and I absolutely fell in love with it as a profession.
Q: As part of your degree, you looked at behaviour change. How has this influenced your thinking?
Behaviour change is an integral aspect of any OSH professional role. A significant part is challenging core beliefs and the classic ‘but this is how we have always done it’ attitude. Most people don’t like change, and challenging that can distress individuals. I am a strong believer in employee-led approaches, engaging and providing a platform for them to give their thoughts and ideas on health and safety issues. They know their role better than anyone.
Q: What is your current role at Rolls-Royce?
I am in my first of three six-month placements, which is then followed by a final 12- to 18-month placement before I move into a permanent role. The health and safety graduate scheme is a leadership development scheme. Currently, I am working within the occupational health and wellbeing team. I have developed nutritional resources for the LiveWell framework, in addition to supporting our contractor safety conference and presenting on health and wellbeing topics.
Q: Tell us more about LiveWell…
LiveWell is our programme designed to help and support health and wellbeing throughout Rolls-Royce. I have been designing nutritional infographics, researching nutritional provisions globally, gaining a greater understanding of employee perceptions of nutrition, and engaging with our caterers. Nutrition is often overlooked as a health and safety issue; however, there is significant research to support nutrition with general health and the prevention of non-communicable diseases. Nutrition also has a significant impact on employee cognitive function, including memory, mental health, ability to concentrate and energy levels. In a safety-critical environment, that can have a significant impact on the ability to act safely.
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of moving to OSH?
There has been so much from my degree that is transferable to my OSH role now. An OSH role is a very caring role, which links back to public health, counselling skills, supporting behaviour change and health promotion. That is something that I have brought forward into my MSc dissertation where I am exploring the experiences of women undergoing the menopausal transition in the workplace, which can be distressing if you have an unsupportive workplace.
Q: What lessons have you learnt from your career so far?
Be bold. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t hold back if you have some insight to add. If you are offered opportunities, take them! Dr Stephanie Fitzgerald, senior business partner, mental health, and Louise Craig, programme executive are amazing mentors who have provided me with advice, support and growth opportunities. They have helped push me out of my comfort zone, and that has really helped develop some of the skills I didn’t realise I had.
IOSH Programme: Calling all future leaders
The Future Leaders Programme is one of IOSH’s key objectives under WORK 2022, and the Future Leaders Community – essentially a network for new professionals – is one part of this interconnected, multi-strand five-year programme designed to help young OSH professionals, such as Chloe, develop their careers.
‘I think the Future Leaders Programme is a great step in the right direction,’ Chloe says. ‘So many young OSH professionals are focused and passionate about developing their careers and the programme provides a platform to share our enthusiasm and passion, as well as best practice.
‘I think the whole community is only going to get bigger and bigger and the more we engage and support one another, the greater our chances of developing a next generation of health and safety professionals who can make the most of the experience, the qualifications, the leadership skills, and the passion that we have.’