How health, safety, environment are creating new job opportunities

By Eloise Nolte, MD of College SA
Issued by Optimi
Johannesburg, Oct 25, 2022
Eloise Nolte, MD, Optimi College

From COVID-19 to climate change, the world, in recent years, has faced a plethora of challenges that have fundamentally altered the way we live.

Never before in history has there been such a heightened awareness around why our health and environment are so important.

As a result, businesses in South Africa have had to ensure their occupational health and safety (OHS) measures, as well as the environmental impact of their business, are carefully considered. As businesses have had to expand their focus into these areas, there is now a fast-growing need for individuals to fulfil job roles in this space.

These opportunities include, for instance, openings for safety officers, environmental protection officers and health and safety managers, among many more.

With just a Grade 10 qualification, and the ability to read and write proficiently in English, one would be eligible to study internationally recognised courses that can lead to becoming an occupational health and safety representative or co-ordinator in the workplace, or as an environmental manager.

A further explanation of these skills and their associated globally accredited courses are listed below.

Occupational health and safety representative

An occupational health and safety representative not only puts health and safety systems in place, but they also investigate accidents that occur in the workplace, carry out risk assessments, and boost employee well-being, among many other facets.

The kind of course that a learner can take to pursue this type of career would be, for example, the UK’s National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) International General Certificate (IGC) in Occupational Health and Safety.

This particular certificated is the most trusted health and safety qualification of its kind in the world, and it can be applied in many sectors. The syllabus has been developed by NEBOSH following extensive consultation with key stakeholders in the industry. It was launched in 2006 and there are now over 90 000 people worldwide who have passed this qualification.

This qualification requires a Grade 10, and it takes up to eight months to complete. Optimi College is a Gold Learning Partner of NEBOSH and provides this internationally recognised accreditation to learners in South Africa. Getting a NEBOSH qualification further enables you to pursue jobs in both South Africa and other countries around the world.

Environmental managers

Another key course from NEBOSH – which is now available in South Africa via Optimi College – is that of its Certificate in Environmental Management. This qualification enables one to recognise which workplace activities may be subject to environmental legislation or enforcement and assess environmental aspects and impacts.

It further provides learners with knowledge in evaluating existing controls, supporting environmental emergency planning as well as understanding the importance of reducing environmental harm.

This reputable qualification also only requires learners to have up to a Grade 10 qualification and takes up to 6 months to complete. It is designed to be globally relevant and benefit companies in all industry sectors which are seeking to implement effective environmental management systems, increase positive environmental impacts and reduce negative environmental impacts.

Both of these career paths, strengthened by NEBOSH qualifications, present effective ways to gain employment, both locally in South Africa and across the globe, in a world that is rapidly changing around us.

There’s no doubt that with future challenges on the horizon, this will continue to become an important part of the workplace. It also presents an opportunity to help reduce unemployment in South Africa, while protecting our health, safety and environment.