The IOSH Future Leaders Steering Group were in the hot seat for the latest in a series of Covid-19 webinars.
The future of work and skills for the future were the two main discussions, before the panel answered submitted questions on an array of topics to help young and aspiring OSH professionals deal with issues they may face in the coming year.
The eight-strong panel agreed with host Stuart Hughes, Vice President of IOSH, that the current challenges presented a “real opportunity for the profession to shine”.
Chloe Hughes, a Health and Safety Graduate at Rolls-Royce, spoke about key impacts of Covid-19.
“We’re working from home a lot more and wellbeing issues include an increase in sedentary lifestyles, access to convenience foods and constantly being on computers,” she said.
Her advice? “It’s really important to look at promoting health and reaching out to employees and reinforcing positive health behaviours.”
Phillip Lancashire, Safety and Health Environmental Manager for Building Product Design Ltd, felt meetings in this format offered a “huge opportunity” to get together with members in other countries to share best practice.
With greater digitalisation, Robert Jukes, Health, Safety and Environment Manager for Wax Lyrical, was mindful of the need for give and take to embrace new working practices.
Sunit Atwal, London Regional Health and Safety Manager for Unite Students, focused on the importance of power (or soft) skills for job-hunters.
She said: “Describe your achievements, show how you’ve been creative,” she said. “I think it comes back to developing personal brand.”
Advice from Hayley Wright, an OHSE Audit and Assurance Lead at the Ministry of Defence, was to show leadership skills, while James MacPherson, HSE Manager for the Glass and Glazing Federation, shared how starting a podcast had boosted his communication skills.
Liam Kelly, the Lead SHEQ Advisor at Actavo, said the ability to present yourself well was the key to success.
Submitted questions focused on supporting diversity, helping employees feel comfortable returning to work, wellbeing apps and more.
Jason Kamalu, Health and Safety Manager of Wacot Ltd, added it was a good time to sell the value of health and safety.
“Globally, we have a dearth of experienced and qualified OSH professionals, but more organisations now require their services,” he said.