If you are studying for your National or International Diploma for Health and Safety Management Professionals (let’s just call them “the Diploma” for now, it will save me some typing) then you will hopefully be aware that you will have to undergo a “professional discussion” with a tutor. If you weren’t aware then hey, big news!!
You might be wondering what on earth that means – is it an interview? A viva? An interrogation? Well, no, none of those things, that would be madness, who performs well under that type of pressure?! You might be surprised to find out that the purpose of the discussion isn’t to mark you on how good you are as a student or how good (or bad) your health and safety knowledge is, but it is an essential part of the validation process to ensure that you did in fact complete the assessment yourself.
Where does the professional discussion take place?
The professional discussion will probably be via Zoom or another similar platform (it can’t be over the phone for reasons that will be clear in a minute) and could potentially be face to face, but in this digital, Covid era video call is the most sensible route. The discussion will be with a person from RRC as your learning partner, and we have hunted high and low to find tutors who would make Alan Sugar tremble. Of course I am kidding, we have a team of pretty normal folk who will understand you are nervous and will probably be hoping that you can’t see the ironing in the background and that the lockdown puppy doesn’t bark at the Amazon delivery driver (OK that could just be me…)
If your call is to be on Zoom (for example) make sure you download the App and have a go at making and receiving a call ahead of time. The first time I had to deliver a Zoom course for RRC I practised with the course development team. I ran through the mechanics of how to “dial in” with my husband and I was still nervous I would fall at the first hurdle. Practice is the key here especially if the technology is new to you.
On the day the discussion will start by asking you to show your photo identification – we really do need to see it so it’s best not to blur your background as this causes problems and we will have to ask you to unblur it. This is also a really important point – we need to know that you are on your own in the room and that you don’t have anyone helping you (unless you have a reasonable adjustment agreed with NEBOSH allowing assistance or care for a child or a vulnerable person). This also means that you won’t be able to use funky backgrounds for the call. I wasn’t kidding, my office is sometimes not as tidy as I would like and if your room is the same then be ready as we will ask to pan the camera around the room. I’m not saying you should tidy up – we really don’t care, but you might want to make sure you are dressed, especially if there are mirrors around!
What will we talk about in the discussion?
Well, the whole call will last around 45 minutes and you will be asked about the answers you gave in your assessment. That means it would probably be a lot easier for you to answer if you have a copy to hand and you are familiar with it. The interviewer isn’t assessing you, they aren’t able to mark you down. They are there to ensure that you did in fact complete the assessment yourself and you can only demonstrate that by relaxing (a bit) and answering the questions you are asked. They will be asking for details, so don’t worry if you feel like you’re talking lots, it’s a discussion after all.
At the end of the discussion the tutor has to submit a report to NEBOSH. I stress this isn’t a decision on the grade you should receive, it’s a report to NEBOSH to say whether in their opinion the work is your own. If all things are well then your grade will be released in due course. Don’t ask the interviewer on the day, they aren’t allowed to say what they will report back.
So why is this necessary?
Well because there is always a potential that some will try to find an easy route to success. It’s our job to make sure that they don’t succeed in order to ensure that your diploma qualification, when awarded to you, remains a qualification you can be rightly proud of and boast about to everyone you meet! As my mum always told me, cheaters never prosper!
RRC Lead Tutor