Developing the safety and health professionals of the future


Two developments in occupational safety and health will ensure professionals in the field are equipped to meet business demands. Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher, Director of Professional Services at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), explains.

A real challenge for the safety and health profession is that the workforce is ageing. It is crucial, therefore, we attract new talent; the leaders of tomorrow.

Two new developments will help us do just that, to ensure future safety and health professionals are equipped to prevent workplace accidents and work-related ill health, both of which have major repercussions on individuals and businesses.

One is the new Level 3 Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Technician Apprenticeship, which is now available for employers in England to offer. The other is IOSH’s new Student Membership category.

SHE Apprenticeship

This hugely-exciting development was led by a ‘Trailblazer’ group of employers including Costain, Balfour Beatty, HS2, Mitie, Morrison Utilities, Persimmon Homes, Sapa UK, Sisk, Skanska, and Thames Water.

It was approved for delivery by the Institute for Apprenticeships in the spring. Some apprenticeships have started, while many employers are recruiting.

Across the UK, employers with annual pay bills over £3m will pay the Apprenticeship Levy. In England, employers can claim funding from the levy via a digital apprenticeship service, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have differing administrative arrangements.

IOSH provided vital support during the development phase, enabling accreditation of the apprenticeship to confirm it provides the relevant knowledge and skills to become an Associate Member. With two years’ experience on successful completion, apprentices can advance to Technical Membership.

Core knowledge, skills and behaviours of the SHE apprenticeship will apply to a safety, health and environmental professional in any industry. Employers can provide industry-specific work experience within the framework of the apprenticeship to ensure relevance to their working environment.

For more information, you can see the standard and find training providers at

IOSH will also publish additional information on its website.

IOSH Student Membership

IOSH was excited to launch its new Student Membership category last month to help us develop and improve how we support new and future professionals.

Eligible full-time students on an IOSH-accredited course can gain IOSH membership for free during their studies. Free IOSH Student Membership is also available to the first 300 SHE Apprentices who apply for it online.

For part-time students studying for an accredited qualification in occupational safety and health, the new category will be a highly cost-effective way of joining the profession’s Chartered body via a concessionary one-off IOSH Student Membership fee of £50.

Students on non-accredited courses will also be able to apply if their course contains safety and health-related modules. These will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

IOSH Student Membership can:

  • Enable students to demonstrate commitment to high professional standards of training and ethics from the start, boosting their post-study employability.
  • Provide chances for students to interact with key industry professionals, connections that could give them a great head start and enhance their professional standing.
  • Give access to tools, information and support throughout their study, creating a positive impact on the student learning experience and equip them with the tools needed to give them the competitive edge in the workplace.

Those who remain IOSH members after their studies end and continue their professional development can expect to earn £4,000–£10,000 a year more than non-IOSH members, according to the latest salary survey for the profession.


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