Skip to content

Darren's delight after 'daunting' dyslexia disclosure

Date posted
05 October 2023
Darren Teverson
Estimated reading time
3 minute read

It's Neurodiversity Celebration Week. Here, Darren Teverson TechIOSH shares his experiences of having dyslexia and working in the occupational safety and health (OSH) profession.

My health and safety career began in 2005 when I 'fell' into the world of occupational safety, health and wellbeing quite by chance. My site health and safety advisor observed that I had a good eye for seeing hazards and coming up with sensible risk management suggestions. I was encouraged to take on the role of health and safety advisor when they were promoted to group health and safety manager. I accepted the opportunity and became qualified through NEBOSH early the following year.

I was never an academic person at school, struggling in exams with particular difficulty reading and writing, so the NEBOSH certificate was quite a shock when it came to the written exam. I discovered, however, that health and safety was the career for me. Eventually I was promoted to the group manager role, where I spent a number of years. I then moved into facilities management in a mechanical and electrical environment as a quality, health, safety and environment (QHSE) manager for three major accounts, further building my experience as an OSH professional.


In 2011, while struggling with the NEBOSH diploma written exams, I watched a BBC documentary in which actress Kara Tointon discussed her challenges and the coping mechanisms she has implemented since being diagnosed with dyslexia. I watched this documentary and said to myself (very excitedly) "that's me"! It felt like a moment of self-discovery and resulted in me contacting Dyslexia Action and arranging an assessment. The report did indeed confirm that my challenges were mainly due to dyslexia and I struggled with reading and writing.

In my career so far, I been fortunate to secure some very strong positions with globally-renowned companies. I have built an incredible amount of experience working in health and safety management in the last 17 years and I am finally about to complete my NEBOSH diploma unit DNI assignment. I passed the three written exams during 2021 and 2022 but only once I had disclosed I was dyslexic, as I was then offered extra time for reading and writing. I still struggle, and my coping mechanisms are a crucial part of the way I work.

"I may not work in the same way as someone classed as 'neurotypical' but I know that the way I see things, especially in the health and safety world, tends to set me aside from others, particularly my ability to develop and implement risk management controls."

Job role

My current role, which I have held for almost five years, is in a global supply chain risk management company, Avetta. I have enjoyed fine-tuning my auditing skills through pre-qualification audits, watching contractors build and maintain a robust health and safety management framework as they go through the assessments.

My employer could not be more supportive in allowing me to work in my own way, although it was quite daunting when I decided to discuss my diagnosis – but I am really glad I did. I had been very hesitant to disclose in previous roles. With Avetta, however, I felt a greater acceptance and a commitment to equal opportunities. I encourage other OSH professionals to do the same if you haven’t already. There is a stigma around disclosing neurodiversity, but it is one that should be broken.

Last updated: 10 April 2024

Darren Teverson

Job role


  • People and workforce


  • building standards
  • Time to step up on neurodiversity
  • Two-thirds of workers won’t disclose neurodiversity to bosses
  • "Work Emma" gets me through the day