It’s time to celebrate! IOSH Mentoring, a community of OSH professionals willing to share experience and 1,000th mentoring relationship since launching only just over a year ago.
And, as we edge towards St Patrick’s Day (17 March), you could say this magical new pairing comes with a shamrock. That’s because it brings together two Irish women: mentee Rachel Healy, who recently become a GradIOSH and her mentor Yvette Moffatt, a CMIOSH since 2013, who has worked in safety and health for 18 years across many sectors, from construction to healthcare, education to laboratories and more.
Rachel, an IOSH member for nearly two years, has built an eight-year career in the construction industry since moving to London from Ireland. Rachel worked on health and safety for some of the capital’s major development projects before taking up her current role as Health and Safety Advisor with Dutch company VKE Bouw, working across sites in Groningen, Amsterdam and Middenmeer.
She’s ambitious and after completing her NVQ Level 6 has plans to study for an MSc in Health Safety and Environmental Management. She’s also set her sights on gaining CMIOSH status.
Rachel says she was sold on IOSH Mentoring some time ago, when she met the now IOSH President Jimmy Quinn: “I felt it would help me towards my goal of Chartered Membership and give me more confidence in myself,” she says.
“Then, when it came to signing up for the scheme, I looked at Yvette’s pedigree in the health and safety sector and it was a no-brainer to ask her to be my mentor.
“I was thrilled when she said ‘yes’ and so I’m looking forward to getting some raw, honest, unbiased advice from an experienced individual who remembers when she was once in my shoes,” adds Rachel.
Based in Dublin, Yvette is Health and Safety Manager with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She holds a BSc in Occupational Safety and Health Management and a Post Graduate Certificate in Workplace Wellness. An IOSH volunteer for nearly nine years, Yvette has been mentoring Graduate Members for the last year or so.
“I’m looking forward to helping Rachel and my other mentees achieve their objective of Chartered Membership and I’m hoping Rachel will further develop her knowledge of health and safety to become competent in taking on any project head on from start to finish in her own work environment,” says Yvette.
“Rachel works in a different industry to myself so I’m looking forward to broadening my own knowledge of risk management,” she adds.
“As a mentor, I find mentoring boosts my own confidence and ability to share ideas and take on challenging situations. Helping mentees not only helps them achieve their career goals, it also boosts your own job satisfaction, widens your network and supports your personal career development – I’m sure my mentoring will help with my own goal to move up to IOSH Fellowship.”
But one of the first mentees to embrace the IOSH Mentoring programme was Dan Wilkins, an IOSH member since June 2018, who secured CMIOSH status last autumn. He teamed up with his mentor, Michelle Peate, having his first conversation with her in January last year.
Dan joined the army at 17 and didn’t come to a career in safety and health till he was in his late-20s. He’s currently a safety training specialist with Noble Drilling, an offshore drilling contractor operating in the North Sea (though, due to Covid, the rig is preparing to relocate to Denmark).
Now in his early-40s, Dan was not only keen but completely committed to moving his career forward and signed up to IOSH Mentoring as soon as the programme was launched (although he’d been thinking of working with a mentor for some time).
“Michelle gave me the confidence to embrace the mentoring process and gave me a helping hand to explore new opportunities by learning a new skill set. I’m now much more aware of what I can contribute and more confident in supporting and challenging management,” says Dan.
“She set out clear goals from the start as we discussed different topics, sharing with me her professional and personal experiences from her own career journey.
“Michelle is the upmost health and safety professional – knowledgeable, approachable, supportive and always crystal clear. You always know exactly where you stand with Michelle.
“IOSH gives members an excellent opportunity to learn from others as mentees and, as mentors, a chance to help upcoming members progress their careers and their membership status,” adds Dan.
Like Yvette, Michelle is also based in Dublin and has been part of IOSH since the millennium, becoming a Fellow in 2013. She started a new role last August as Covid-19 Site Lead for pharmaceutical company MSD.
Michelle says she always felt there was a lot IOSH could do to help its members on their professional journeys and so when she heard about the launch of IOSH Mentoring she became one of the first to sign up for it as a mentor.
“IOSH can seem a big organisation and it can feel hard to find someone within that network; it’s so large and yet the mentoring programme gives you that one-to-one contact with people,” says Michelle.
“For me, Dan was great. He was committed from the outset. Mentoring was something he’d looked at for some time and his link up with me helped him to get some direction,” she adds.
Michelle says she also learned from Dan: “The chief thing I learned from working with him was that if you commit yourself then you can achieve your goal. He set clear deadlines for himself and dedicated all the spare time he had to achieve his Chartered Membership, not easy when you’re spending so much time away from home.
“I take great pride in seeing how he’s developed, keeping an eye on what he’s up to and making contact now and again on LinkedIn. I see the network he’s grown around him now and it’s great to see.”
Dan, in turn, is now sharing his own career experience for the benefit of fellow IOSH members by acting as a mentor and serving on peer review interview panels.
“They say that what goes around comes around but, thanks to members like Dan and Michelle and so many of those involved in 1,000 similar mentoring relationships, this has proved very much a good thing for all those involved in the IOSH Mentoring programme,” says IOSH Member Engagement Manager Chris Kurylec.
“Here’s wishing Rachel and Yvette and all future IOSH mentors and mentees every success!”
- The IOSH Future Leaders Virtual Conference 2021 (16-18 March), designed especially for early career professionals in occupational safety and health, will include a final day session on ‘How mentorship drives development’. The session will feature OSH professionals from two IOSH Mentoring relationships: Liam Dee (mentor) and Mansur Mubarak (mentee), plus David Day (mentor) and Amanda Fox (mentee). You can register and pay for the virtual conference at https://iosh.com/events/future-leaders-conference/