The course has made a big impact on our working practices

Jonathan Samuel is Chief Executive of Gas Safety Register, and studies the MSc Leadership and Management course alongside his role.

"The MSc in leadership and management was a natural extension to both my educational and career journey relating to this subject. As a newly appointed Chief Executive of the Gas Safe Register it was an opportune moment to relate my day to day leadership requirements to the academic aspects within the MSc study.     

I am responsible for 180 staff and delivery of this £250m contract for the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) at Gas Safe Register. We are currently working on projects relating to the competence and training of UK gas engineers that operate within the UK and aspects relating to the roll out of the UK SMART meter programme. The MSc in leadership and management has impacted on both me personally and the business. It has enabled me to learn about new areas of leadership and more importantly take such aspects from the academic world back to the workplace. It has taught me the importance of good leadership and how your business can flourish because of adopting some of the methods, ideas and approaches identified by leaders within the academic literature, where appropriate. The course opened the industry debate around engineer competence and training and as a business we continue to focus on this area.  

Whist engineer competence and training was already being considered by the Gas Safe Register, the course prompted me to consider further investigation and research of this area further as part of my dissertation. The dissertation research and findings identified the gaps that have appeared in the quality and content of gas engineer training within the gas industry. The dissertation provided the first opportunity to play back research findings to the industry, including those who could influence or were responsible to make the necessary improvements. Initially following conversations with Government representatives around the findings it was viewed that this may need to go to a select committee which could question those responsible, formally record the outcomes and more importantly request an appropriate solution. Since this time other key industry bodies for example Gas Industry Safety Group (GISG) have undertaken their own research which has provided the same results identified within the dissertation which validates the original research undertaken. The HSE have now tasked areas of the industry to implement specific standards of training as defined within IGEM IG/1 . This will be a major step forward for the industry and as the Gas Safe Register we will be monitoring the outputs and improvements of this standard.       

I cannot deny that studying when you have a family and a demanding job was a real challenge. The biggest issue I found was simply time, or not enough of it! It quickly became apparent that in order for me to succeed I had to optimise my time management.  As with everything in life you only get out what you put in. The course requires a real personal commitment with your time being part of your contribution, but it is also very rewarding with lots to learn along the way. The USW team are a fantastic support and are all very passionate about what they do and what you as a student achieve while you are studying with them. Manage your time well and complete your assignments as soon as you get them!"