Our QHSE Advisor
At just 22 years old, Dan is a perfect example of the way the Rakem Group understands its people’s capabilities and places responsibility in their hands. Being accountable for keeping people and planet safe is a big task. But, as Dan notes, it’s one he loves: “Whether it’s efficiency, safety or sustainability, I really enjoy making things better.”
So how did Dan get to this position of responsibility so early in his career? Having given college a go, Dan decided it wasn’t right for him. So his dad, who also works at Rakem, advised Dan to apply for a role in the warehouse, where they’d be working together.
Unfortunately, as Dan laughingly says, it soon turned out they were better working apart. So Dan applied for an apprenticeship as a Laboratory Technician and moved to a different team. After two and a half years and with apprenticeship complete, Dan knew he wanted to pursue the part of the role he’d enjoyed most – health and safety.
As luck would have it, the Rakem Group’s continued growth meant the business needed someone to carry out a health and safety role. So Dan took the job on.
The life of a QHSE Advisor
“The main part of my role is the health, safety and environmental side of things”, says Dan. “Although we have someone who looks after quality, I get involved by helping with quality audits and running the quality system.”
But Dan’s main responsibilities are keeping everyone at the business and the environment safe, ensuring the Rakem Group meets its legal requirements and continually improving the group’s health, safety and environmental practices. This involves adopting new technologies and solutions to make sure Rakem Group is continually modernising and looking after its people.
Dan is also helping the Rakem Group to maintain its ISO9001 accreditation, and he is now in the process of securing the ISO45001 accreditation – an international standard for Health and Safety Management systems.
“We’ve come a long way over the two years I’ve been doing this role,” says Dan. “I couldn’t do this job without everyone’s support. Everybody’s been really good at having their say, getting on board with what we need and making change happen.”
“The Rakem Group is such a good company to work for. They care about their staff and do all they can to support you. When I talk to friends who work in other businesses, the Rakem Group comes out miles ahead.”
Rakem Group culture
Development is a big part of the Rakem Group culture and Dan’s career journey is a great example of the support employees can expect to receive. In the five and a half years Dan has been with the Rakem Group, he’s received the following paid-for training:
● Two-year Laboratory Technician apprenticeship.
● NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety making Dan a registered health and safety professional.
● A one-year degree level course which will give him a NEBOSH National Diploma for Occupational Health and Safety Management professionals.
“These are lifelong qualifications that set me apart and mean I’ll always have a job. Rakem Group has set me up for life.”
These training opportunities are backed up with significant support from Dan’s manager Andy Byrne. Dan believes he’s got so far, so quickly thanks to a combination of a strong work ethic – something he credits his dad for – plus the level of support he’s received from Andy.
“Knowledge and experience-wise, Andy has really helped me get where I am today,” says Dan. “He knows my capabilities and he’s always there to push me when I need it. He leads by helping everyone on the team to do more and get better so they can overtake him one day.”
On top of the day-to-day line manager support, Andy also mentors Dan. Giving him someone to turn to for advice and guidance, helping him solve problems and progress personally and professionally.
What’s next for Dan?
In the short term, Dan’s looking forward to a European road trip and snowboarding trip with friends. Something he says he wouldn’t have been able to do without his job. “I’m very grateful – not a lot of people who leave school or jump out of college get this opportunity. It means I can drive through France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands to go snowboarding in Austria. Not everyone can do that.”
As the Rakem Group grows, there’s even more opportunity on the horizon for Dan: “We’re getting bigger so there’s talk of bringing in a QA Technician and maybe an apprentice on the health and safety side. I like looking forward and thinking about how I can give someone else the same chance I’ve had.”