Career Inspiration Video Series: Vincent King, Health and Safety Director at Cranfield University


Career Inspiration Video Series: Vincent King, Health and Safety Director at Cranfield University

Posted on 07 July 2024

​In our most recent Career Inspiration Video, we speak with Vincent King, Health and Safety Director at Cranfield University about his career in health and safety, from what attracted him to the profession to his tips for anyone starting their career.

I'm Vincent King, Health and Safety Director at Cranfield University. A bit about Cranfield; Cranfield University is a Postgraduate Specialist Postgraduate University, mainly aviation at its heart, and it's also has attached to it at Cranfield University Airport as well.

What attracted you to work in health and safety?

My first career was a coal miner. I was the last in the family generation of coal miners, so I was in the mines for around 10 years. And obviously, we all know the story behind the mines and what's happened to the mines. But that's where my interest started to creep into health and safety, through various aspects of mine-safety related issues. And then obviously the mine's closed, and then you have to take a step back and look at a career in front of you and what could be transferable. And health and safety seemed a natural transition from the mines into health and safety. So that's how it started. And then back to college to where I am now.

Why would you recommend working in health and safety as a great career choice?

There are many benefits to being a Health and Safety Professional, in that not only you have great career opportunities for you, it's also a great transferrable skill. You can move from industry to industry. You can also move from countries as well. It is a career where you can always find work to deploy your skills, and you'll always develop the opportunity for you to show your worth. Very difficult period for the global was the global pandemic, and you've seen the real benefits of health and safety practise there, and companies were looking for people who could analyse and break the challenges down and implement safe methods of working as well. That skill can be used in many different areas as well.

Why is working in the university sector and exciting role?

I feel the university sector is very exciting, but a combination of reasons really. You've got a student profile looking to develop their careers and they bring a lot of energy, which is quite infectious and that they feed off the energy. So, from a policy environment point of view, but what does that bring for a Practitioner in Health and Safety? A real diverse range of portfolio. We all know there'll be labs and workshops, etc, to the obvious environments. What's not so obvious is a large-scale construction programmes that go on in universities. There's also a lot of conference and events facilities now, as they attract a global audience to run conferences. And also, the residentials, we house students on campus or off campus.

What tips would you give to anyone starting their career in health and safety?

A couple of things I would put above most, really to be honest, is do not underestimate the value of your conduct and behaviour. It really sends a strong message. Be true to yourself, who you are. It's got you to where you are so far, and it can take that a stage further. Be who you are, yourself, be reliable, and be positive. Everybody likes a positive attitude, and it may sound simple, but also check your facts. People are relying upon you to give informed information, so you just need to be accurate in what you're saying. Don't underestimate your conduct. A real positive thing, I would recommend anybody is be an enabler, not a blocker. Organisations are looking to find ways to do things and they will look at you as a Health Safety Practitioner to support them in their journey.

During your career what have been the biggest changes in health and safety?

What I would say has been the most real positive impact has been the positivity around ED&I in the workplace, or in the profession. It really has brought a lot of richness to the conversation when we can bring our whole self to work. When we look now at ED&I, whether it's male, female, our LGBT community is when we all come together. It's a real powerful message. When we all learn from one another, that if anything has been a real positive in the workplace.

What will the future health and safety professional look like?

The things that I would probably hone in the most is listening skills and communication. Communication being both written and oral as well. Because if we need to progress, we need to communicate to various managerial levels, the succinct message. We've got to listen wisely, interpret that information, and communicate on point. They would probably be the two I would put above most really to be honest, going forward.


Share this article