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WGU ten years

Richard Bate BSc, CMIOSH, MiiRSM  

BSc Occupational Health Safety & Environmental Health

I was already working within the events industry when I came to study at Glyndwr on a Part-time degree in 2007. Glyndwr changed my perspective on career development, developed my professional competency and to some extent my confidence. Being able to stand in front of a board of directors detailing their safety management failings or 200 staff and give a Site Safety Briefing is so much easier when you know you have the skill, knowledge, qualification and experience.

The other aspect of my studies which can often be overlooked is the professional relationships you develop while studying. I remain in touch with former colleagues and lectures, all of whom are now part of my resource network.

As the Senior Health and Safety Manager for Formula E Holdings, I take responsibility for legal compliance, corporate health and safety governance, staff wellbeing and travel safety, transport logistics, temporary electrical installations, emergency planning, traffic management, crowd management, crisis management planning and working with our event managers to ensure that the organisation complies with Planning and Licensing requirements within the multiple jurisdictions where our racing series travels.

The FIA Formula E Championship, has taken all-electric single seat racing to streets of major cities around the globe. Managing electricity, as the power source (1 megawatt) for a vehicle is high-risk and the chances of the chassis of the car becoming ‘live’ is a real threat that faces the sport every time the cars take to the track. Our safety teams are very capable, and have effective, proven systems in place to manage this risk. During the race, the FiA have absolute authority, however, Formula E overseas the safety of our series race teams and ensures these are conforming to the conditions of their FIA E-License.

There have been many career highlights: graduating from Glyndwr, achieving Chartered Membership of Institute of Occupational Health & Safety, Graduating from Derby Uni following post-graduate study, working on the London and Sochi Olympics, working with the NFL, Puma, Nike, FIFA, FiA, IOC and World Rally Championship have all been standout moments. However, the position which interests most of my professional colleagues is the years I spent working on Top Gear Live – incredible experience, unbelievably challenging – lots of new grey hair.

I chose to study at Wrexham Glyndwr University following a chance meeting with one of the lecturers who invited me to call into his office for a chat. I live in Chester, grew up near Wrexham – it just felt right for me at the time, and it transpires my instinct about Glyndwr was correct and I’m so glad I chose Glyndwr for my degree.

My biggest mistake, and hence challenge for my Course Leader was that I over complicated assignments and sometimes missed the learning objective because I was trying to be clever. I was also a transient student due to the time I spent overseas each year. My Course Leader was very supportive and tolerant of my absences, allowing me to make up the time by attending lectures on different courses which were relevant to my studies.

After achieving A levels, I had some interesting offers but got side tracked into a career as a paramedic which I fell out of love with very quickly. Glyndwr gave me the self-assurance and knowledge to apply for positions I would previously have never considered.

My advice to someone who would like to work in a similar field would be that you must develop a broad understanding of all aspects of health and safety. I have spent my H&S career predominantly in events – as a result I lacked construction and manufacturing experience. I resolved this my working short contracts in oil and gas and offshore renewables. Take whatever opportunity presents itself, gain skills, knowledge and experience and develop your own leadership style, a brand image if you like. Remember, keep in touch with classmates – my stints in oil and gas and offshore renewables came about because former classmates offered me contract work.

I would recommend Wrexham Glyndwr University to anyone. It is accessible and unequivocally non-elitist – Glyndwr has a great track record of finding the intangible key in individuals who often don’t recognise their own potential. 

My favourite memory was making new friends and networking as this still remains key to my ability to manage safety in complex, often difficult environments.

My Course Leader saw something in me which I would never have recognised. He used what he saw to change my life through inspirational mentoring, and on occasion, brutal honesty to force me to focus on what I could (would) achieve, rather than on my own lesser aspirations.

You can choose to spend your life waiting benignly for some career changing moment to happen, (this will likely be a long wait), alternatively you could create your own career defining moment. If you don’t jump, how do you know if you can fly? Let Glyndwr give you that first push towards the edge. Carpe Jugulum.

Discover more information about our range of courses within The School of Social and Life Sciences, please visit the school page.

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