What does NEBOSH mean to you? Knowledge? Career
development? Recognition? For Nick Higginson
NEBOSH means a lot more than this. He says NEBOSH
is “his life”.
Nick is quick to admit this “sounds like a cliche,” but when
you know his story it’s easy to see why he sees it this way.
Nick left school aged16 with a reasonable set of GCSEs,
but with little in the way of direction or ambition. He found
a job at the local electricity board driving fork-lift trucks.
When he became a trade union rep he developed an
interest in health and safety and after going on a few basic
courses he decided he wanted to find out more.
Nick had his eye on a NEBOSH General Certificate, but
his employer wouldn’t fund his studies. The only way he
could gain his Certificate was to pay for it himself. So
that’s what he did, attending a course at his local college
every Saturday morning for several months. He thoroughly
enjoyed his studies and realised health and safety covered
far more than he’d expected with elements of psychology,
engineering, management techniques and management
theory. All of a sudden he’d found direction and ambition.
This, he decided, would be his chosen career.
Still without any funding, Nick embarked on his NEBOSH
Diploma via distance learning. People at work were
impressed by his dedication and he made a step up the
ladder, becoming a Loss Control Coordinator. He passed
his Diploma Part 1 with a distinction and moved on to Part
2. He was then promoted to a Safety Adviser position,
something he’d set his sights on. But Nick was to achieve
far greater heights than this.
Hungry for broader experience he went to work for a
health and safety consultancy, supporting many different
kinds of businesses and organisations. He took and passed
with distinction his NEBOSH Environmental Diploma, as he
could see that environmental management was becoming
increasingly important in the health and safety arena. Again
this was distance learning and self-funded. Not content
with that, he also put himself through a Masters degree in
Occupational Safety and Health.
Having gained some experience providing tuition to
NEBOSH Diploma students, Nick made a move that would
truly change his life forever. He set up his own training and
consultancy business Phoenix Health and Safety.
Nick has never looked back since. His company now
employs 30 staff including 15 full-time trainers. It’s also
expanding into the international market and is proving to
be a big success.
“NEBOSH opened up a whole world of opportunities
for me. It even impacted on my personal life as I met
my wife through a NEBOSH course. I had my sights set
on management when I first began my studies, but it’s
given me much more than that. It gave me a business
opportunity that’s transformed my life forever. Without it,
well, I’d probably still be driving fork-lift trucks!”
Like many people, Nick hopes that one day he’ll retire, buy
a yacht and sail the world. He’s already thought of a name
for his ship. He’d like to call it ‘NEBOSH’.