At the beginning of February, NCRQ asked those who took part in one of our COVID-19 Support Schemes to share their success stories with us. As the UK verges on the re-opening of the economy, and elements of our lives begin to assemble into a version of normality, we felt now was an appropriate time to share the stories of those we helped throughout the pandemic.
What were the NCRQ COVID Support Schemes
During the most difficult periods of the pandemic, NCRQ conducted two support schemes to aid those whose careers had been most affected by COVID. Our first scheme launched in April 2020, where we distributed 20,000 free Safety For Managers qualifications nationwide – equivalent to £4.5 million worth of health and safety training. During the second lockdown, we then offered half-price qualifications to those whose jobs or businesses had been adversely affected in varying ways.
We’ve been inundated with positive and heartwarming feedback from those who took part in the schemes. In this article, we focus on two stories highlighting the adversity faced by many during the pandemic. We will continue to share similar stories in the student testimonials section of our website over the coming weeks.
Bethany’s success story
In April 2020 Bethany, like so many others, found herself unexpectedly furloughed. She had recently started a new career as a health and safety advisor, having spent the previous ten years in civil engineering. Though Bethany was powerless in this situation, the worry of paying bills, the long-term effect that this would have on her career, and the absence of any childcare soon hit her.
Bethany had chosen to follow a number of health and safety-related pages on her Twitter in order to keep up-to-date with the industry – including NCRQ. Whilst scrolling through her feed, she came across our social media post offering our Safety for Managers qualification free of charge. She promptly decided to enrol on the course thinking “what do I have to lose?”.
Bethany enjoyed the course immensely; finding the case studies of particular resonance. At times she couldn’t believe that such incidents had occurred so recently, and found this aided her motivation in progressing through the qualification.
Like many parents throughout the UK, however, Bethany was struggling with the closure of nurseries and balancing childcare alongside her day-to-day routine. Bethany’s three-year-old was struggling to sleep, meaning that studying could only take place very late in the evenings or very early in the morning. The unpredictability of her child-care routine demanded flexibility – something that she found was catered for with the NCRQ self-directed learning model. Bethany was able to work at a pace and at a time that suited her.
Due to her positive first experience with NCRQ, Bethany was certain she wanted to continue onto the Level 6 Diploma. When the second lockdown came into force, she enrolled on the Certificate in Applied Health and Safety. Due to her immense dedication, Bethany completed the course in just over four months and achieved a merit – a significant achievement. As of April 2021, Bethany has completed the second unit: Personal Injury Liability and Absence Reduction and has now started on the final unit: Further Workplace Hazards. Summarising her experience with NCRQ, she said: “I know lots of us who have children have struggled and continue to find things difficult presently, and it can seem like a mammoth task, but it is doable. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, just do you – if it takes four months or 12 months it doesn’t matter – the pride you feel at the end of it makes it worth it!”
Phil’s success story
Phil was made redundant in July 2020 as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic. Phil had 25 years of experience in Research and Development, the last 10 years of which featured an increasing shift towards Environment, Health and Safety Leadership. Despite extensive knowledge in this area, he had none of the formal qualifications that employers seek. Being enthused by the topic, Phil had developed many of his skills in a vocational capacity.
He was particularly proactive when it came to stimulating employee engagement with EHS and developing a health and safety culture. Phil drove change by exploring and pioneering innovative health and safety strategies and activities alongside his colleagues. His redundancy left him feeling ‘high and dry’ as, despite this wealth of experience, he was unable to prove his credentials in an objective, formalised way.
Phil decided to utilise his redundancy period to reflect on his interests, and eventually decided to change the direction of his career. With his practical experience of health and safety, it made sense to consider undertaking a qualification in this area. It wasn’t long before NCRQ was recommended to Phil by an acquaintance. He decided to invest in taking the level 6 Certificate in Applied Health & Safety. Evidencing his capability Phil completed the course in just a few weeks.
Using his NCRQ qualification, and demonstrable experience in an EHS role, Phil was granted Technical Membership of IOSH in November 2020, enhancing his profile in the sector. This coincided with NCRQ’s half price support scheme, which Phil quickly applied for. The opportunity to study the level 6 Diploma at 50% of the normal price meant the diploma was within his budget, despite his redundancy. Phil is currently working on the third module of the Diploma.
Having benefitted from his recent NCRQ qualification and IOSH affiliation, as well as being able to evidence his continuing commitment to studying, Phil reached the final stages of several recruitment processes. One process in particular was the perfect fit for Phil, and he has now begun work as an Environmental, Health & Safety Manager for a local manufacturing company. Phil concluded the account of his experience by saying, “This opportunity really excites me, and I am delighted to be able to bring the last year’s story to a successful conclusion. A combination of factors has made this possible and I believe my NCRQ qualification has made a key contribution.”
Retaining our position as the most popular provider of health and safety qualifications
NCRQ are delighted to have been able to make such a positive impact on these individuals and thousands like them across the UK. These accounts substantiate the innovation and accessibility of our qualifications, proving that they are indeed Qualifications for Real Life. NCRQ will continue to aid this period of rebuilding and renewing with initiatives and continued support for our students and the industries we serve. We are confident that this will ensure we retain our position as the most popular provider of health and safety qualifications in the UK.