What’s your job about?
I am a Safety Graduate at Western Power - a Government owned corporation that delivers safe, reliable and affordable energy supply to the Western Australian community. As a Safety Graduate I get provided with on-the-job training in a range of disciplines within different safety areas.
This means gaining experience in incident investigations, site visits, workplace risk assessments, health and wellness promotion strategies, compliance and other safety initiatives and project work.
Not one day is the same, and I am constantly being challenged with new tasks involving safety. Not only do I get to work with proactive safety initiatives that keep employees safe, but I get to do interesting investigations on why and how an incident might have happened in the first place. We then work together in teams to come up with actions and ideas on how to learn from and to prevent incidents from happening again.
We all have one common goal – to get everyone home safe.
What is your background?
I was born and grew up in Norway. After I finished school and turned 18 I decided that there was more to life than staying in my birth town for the rest of my life – so I decided to travel the world.
I started in Cyprus, where I got a job and stayed for a year. In the following years I travelled all over Europe, Asia and finally Australia. After falling in love with this beautiful country I decided that I would like to stay here – so I commenced a degree at ECU in Perth. I started up studying engineering, then I swapped over to social science. I was in a limbo between being in love with technology, but also enjoyed working with people. I then ‘stumbled’ across an elective in Occupational Health and Safety – and for me it was the perfect combination of the two!
After graduation I applied for graduate roles and interviewed with Western Power. Competing with other graduates, I was delighted when I got the final phone call stating that I got the role. I have now just hit my 6 months mark – and I absolutely LOVE IT!
I believe travelling before I started my education and career was a good choice as it made me more mature and ready for the workforce.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
I believe that no matter what background you have, you can get a career in safety.
Having a diverse background is even an advantage in the workforce as it helps looking at the same thing with a different set of eyes – and this leads to more ideas and safer solutions. On the other hand, to be good in a safety role, you need to passionate about keeping other Safe. You also need to be a good communicator, have an eye for detail, be able to grow relationships and have a lot of patience.
What is the coolest thing about your job?
The best things about my job is that I get to go on site visits doing safety observations. I love being out in the field talking to operational employees and hear about the challenges they face working in such a high-risk industry.
Sometimes I meet people that don’t take safety seriously, and they might act like I am a waste of time. But being calm and building relationships with the individuals usually helps. In the end, it is all worth it when you met the people in the field that goe above and beyond to keep their team safe.
I also love the dynamic in the office and the team work. We have an open office space shared with everyone from team members to leaders. Good chats all around.
What are the limitations of your job?
There is a lot of data entry and systems to learn. As much as I would like to be out and about on the field every day, there is paperwork that needs to be done and completed within a timeframe.
Also, with working in a big company such as Western Power one must be prepared that things move slow and small changes take a long time to process. Because of the large number of employees it can sometimes take more than a day to find the correct person to talk to about a matter or to get access to some files. Patience and understanding are important here.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student…
Try to start assignments early to avoid long nights and too much stress when it comes to exam time of the year. But don’t be too hard on yourself and remember to have BREAKS!
Go to lectures and get to know your teachers/lecturers – they are there to help you and many of them have industry experience. I still have contact with a few of them, and they helped me applying for jobs after graduation.
Enjoy being a student – you will miss it when you have a full-time job!