The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) says the new category will enable it to "develop and improve" the support it offers for people new to the profession which, in the UK and worldwide, needs to sustain a flow of new talent as demand grows.
IOSH student membership can:
• enable students to demonstrate commitment to high professional standards of training and ethics from the start, boosting their post-study employability
• provide chances for students to interact with key industry professionals, connections that could give students a great head start and enhance their professional standing
• give students access to tools, information and support throughout their study, creating a positive impact on their learning experience and equipping them with the tools needed to give them the competitive edge in the workplace
Those who remain IOSH members after their studies end and continue their professional development can expect to earn £4,000--£10,000 a year more than non-IOSH members, according to the latest salary survey for the profession.
The new category means eligible full-time students on an IOSH-accredited course can gain IOSH membership for free during their studies.
So will the first 300 people to apply who are taking the new level 3 Safety, Health and Environment Apprenticeship, developed by employers and launched in England this summer.
For part-time students, studying for an accredited qualification in occupational safety and health, the new IOSH student membership will also be a highly cost-effective way of joining the profession's Chartered body, with a one-off concessionary IOSH student membership fee of £50.
Students on non-accredited courses may also apply if their course contains modules that cover safety and health. These will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
IOSH's Director of Professional Development Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher said: "This is a significant step forward for the world's Chartered professional body for safety and health. IOSH Student Membership will help us develop and improve how we support new and future safety and health professionals.
"For students at every stage of their course, whether they're already working or preparing for an OSH career, this new IOSH Student Membership opens up a world of opportunities for everyone who joins us.
"We're the largest professional network for safety and health so IOSH can help new members build contacts with other professionals and key people working in the industry. Access to information, advice and resources will also be valuable in many different ways."