When one pub door closes…

It can be fun throwing yourself in at the deep-end. But a bit of experience and know-how comes in handy if you're planning on doing something challenging.


When Carole Baugh set off to conquer some of the toughest hill-climbs in the world, it wasn't as if she'd never been on a bike before. She regularly cycles over 100 miles at weekends. Climbing the Col du Galibier, L'Alpe d'Huez and other famous mountain sections of the Tour de France - and coming back down again - were tough challenges she proudly achieved in 2005.


A few years earlier, Carole faced what was perhaps an even bigger challenge in her life - leaving behind the comfort and security of a full-time job and going self-employed as a freelance trainer.


It wasn't as if Carole hadn't done any training before. She'd worked for a brewery, running a pub and restaurant in Sheffield for 13 years. As well as this, she'd provided training courses for the brewery, helping new landlords learn the ropes with things like food safety and customer service.


She'd previously completed a level 4 health and safety course, which gave her enough knowledge to include health and safety within her training programmes at the brewery.


An opportunity then arose for Carole to provide a range of work-related training courses through local colleges. This meant leaving the pub and restaurant behind and going it alone. She took a chance and it paid off. There was a lot of funding around for training at the time and several other colleges and organisations began seeking her help. Her business took off.


There was strong demand for entry level health and safety courses in particular, so in 2004 Carole decided she should gain more formal qualifications herself.


"I wanted to improve myself and my knowledge. I wanted to have the confidence to know that what I was saying was correct and up-to-date," she explained.


First of all Carole took her NEBOSH General Certificate, which she passed with distinction. It then took Carole just a year to gain her NEBOSH Diploma, which she passed with credit.


She now delivers level 3 and 4 health and safety training herself - something Carole says she would not feel comfortable with if she didn't have her Diploma.


She believes providing everyone with health and safety training at work is vital.


"I think there's a lot of misconceptions about health and safety, mainly because of bad publicity," she told us.  "When I'm training, I like to say 'you've read the rubbish about health and safety, about how it bans this, that and the other,' and then I like to put the facts straight and dispel the myths."


Carole threw herself in at the deep-end by going self-employed. But as an experienced trainer who is willing to build on her knowledge, she's been able to make a real success of it.