Despite difficult economic times, Occupational Health and Safety remains an excellent career option where job opportunities continue to grow, because of the legal requirement that all companies implement measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their employees on site.
However given the wide variety of OHS courses on offer, it is not always easy for prospective students to make a call on which course will best position them for a successful career in the field. An education expert says that one of the key considerations future students should consider, is whether the course is accredited by the South African Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Saiosh), a professional body recognised by SAQA.
“The benefit of studying for a Saiosh-accredited course can’t be overstated, and should be one of the key considerations for prospective students considering a career path in Occupational Health and Safety. Without a doubt, it positions those who have successfully completed the course more favourably in the jobs marketplace,” says Elbie Liebenberg, MD at Oxbridge Academy, a private college that serves more than 20 000 South African distance learning students every year.
Liebenberg says the benefit of studying an OHS course accredited by Saiosh, is because it is the largest and most active OHS professional body in Africa, and the leading source of information and networking opportunities in the profession in South Africa.
“Even if you have achieved a first OHS qualification and are already employed, your ability to move up in the industry will be greatly enhanced if you complement your first qualification with a Saiosh-accredited one. So if you have to decide on your first OHS qualification, it makes sense to save time and money by moving directly to a Saiosh-accredited course, to best position you at the end of your studies.”
“Once you have completed the course, you can register as a member of Saiosh, which comes with a range of benefits, along with a wealth of additional information and networking opportunities within the field of OHS.”
Liebenberg notes that the mandate of Saiosh is to support the upgrading of professional skills in the industry and increasing the opportunities for its members by keeping them updated and informed on the latest developments in the field of Occupational Health and Safety. Seminars and workshops on a wide range of OHS topic are regularly held for members, while Saiosh liaises with the Department of Labour and other relevant governmental bodies on behalf of its members.
“Needless to say, becoming active in this professional body also greatly improves your professional development and visibility in the industry,” she says.
In addition to the above, Saiosh members also enjoy the following benefits: Digital Membership certificate verification, free CPD Provincial OHS workshops, free OHS webinars, free OHS e-Learning, legal updates, legal advice, free subscription to SHEQ management magazine, online networking, online CPD and profile updates, access to the annual international OHS conference, newsletters, and access to a careers portal.
And for OHS students and professionals who are really making their mark in the industry, Saiosh also annually recognises the student of the year and person of the year with financial awards, and bursary funding for qualifying members.
“OHS is an exciting and rewarding career, with great opportunities along the way. But we urge prospective students to consider carefully their study and career options before committing to a specific course, because all courses are not created equal, and despite the opportunities, competition remains tough,” says Liebenberg.
“By opting for an OHS course that is Saiosh accredited, future students are guaranteed that they are following the gold standard in OHS studies, and that their options after receiving their qualification, and going into their career, will be significantly improved.”