Membership of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) Future Leaders Community has almost doubled in just two years.
The Community – launched in May 2019 to support new and aspiring occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals – now has almost 7,000 members.
The news comes as the 2020/2021 Future Leaders Steering Group, which has been instrumental in supporting and developing the Community, prepares to hand over the reins to their successors.
Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher, Director of Professional Services at IOSH, said: “Launching Future Leaders was an important part of our WORK 2022 strategy, to elevate the status and capability of the OSH profession and promote it as an attractive first career. It’s gratifying to see how much the Community has grown.
“We’ve also been working with the group to ensure the future of our profession is as diverse as possible. The figures reflect this ongoing commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion – our Community has a global reach of 97 countries. Thirty per cent of its members are female, so we are bucking the trend of the profession in female representation.
“The Steering Group has been at the forefront of this success. These eight dedicated volunteers have been invaluable as the voice for the Community, working with IOSH to create objectives and influence our content strategy. I would like to say a huge thank-you to them all.”
Over the past year, Sunit Atwal, Chloe Hughes, Robert Jukes, Jason Kamalu, Liam Kelly, Philip Lancashire (who is staying on), James MacPherson and Hayley Wright have worked on many projects, including:
- helping to plan and deliver the second annual – and first virtual – three-day Future Leaders Conference
- five webinars featuring industry experts, which attracted more than 1,500 attendees
- IOSH magazine takeover, including a thought-provoking cover story and interviews
- creating a LinkedIn group to encourage networking and information sharing
- growing the discussion forum by more than 50 per cent
- inspiring a new series of first-person articles.
Suzanne Eacott was among the Community members who attended this year’s Future Leaders Conference. She said: “Strong words, but I think I can confidently say the last three days may have been career changing for me.”
Hayley, who leaves the Steering Group at the end of this month, described being part of the team as one of the “best benefits of being an IOSH member so far”.
“The members of the Community, and undoubtedly those who I have served a term with on the Steering Group, have so much enthusiasm and innovation, which I have found to be so energising,” she said.
“A stand-out result for me has been the impressive level of engagement that we have had from the Community and profession more broadly.”
Her colleague Liam said: “Hopefully, our work will have paved the way for a more cohesive flow and promote inclusivity for more of the Future Leaders.”
This responsibility falls to the 24 new volunteers, who will take over on 01 June. They include Shamim Bukenya, who wants to give back to the Community that has had a profound impact on her and is “hoping to inspire and be a representation for people from a minority background in order to attract diverse talent into the profession”.
Joshua Calloway, another new Steering Group member, is also excited to join the team “to help demonstrate that OSH is an integral, dynamic and engaging world to work in”.