A health and safety advisor from Tamworth is celebrating 10 years of successfully running her own company and says a big part of that success is thanks to the practical experience she has gained through 36 years volunteering as a leader in the Girl Guides.

Christine Harris has been a member of the Guides since the age of seven and is now in her 36th year as a leader. Although the 53-year-old has vast experience in all areas of health and safety training and legislation, Christine says the ongoing practical experience of organising trips, events and holidays for hundreds of girls has proved invaluable, and played a key part in the success of her business, Opus Training.

Christine originally trained as a nurse and then moved on to the St John Ambulance Headquarters where she first started sourcing and delivering accredited training. It’s also where she picked up many of her extensive qualifications and credentials.

In 2006 Christine was made redundant from her job as a regional training manager. Despite the redundancy, her skills were immediately in demand and within six months she was working full-time on a consultancy basis – Opus Training was born.

Since then, the business has evolved to provide courses, training, advice and emergency response to businesses across the area – particularly those which don’t have the budget for a permanent health and safety manager.

Services include risk assessments, fire safety, manual handling, food safety, first aid, Coshh, infection control and equipment checking – all of which frequently come up in Christine’s voluntary work with the Tamworth Guides.

“The amount of experience Guiding has given me is invaluable,” Christine said. “My experience with volunteers is quite extensive and I have also helped a lot of other voluntary organisations on their health and safety procedures and various other requirements.

“I’ve organised big outdoor events and excursions, such as camps, holidays and trips to pop concerts at Wembley. If I’m taking my unit out, I’m responsible for all the risk assessments and making sure everything complies with Girl Guiding policy. This means I’m gaining constant hands-on experience to back up my qualifications.”

Tamworth Guides recently enjoyed a major celebration as the current divisional commissioner Marie Hames handed over the reins to her successor and the current Tamworth President Pearl Storr marked her 60th anniversary with the organisation.

And while 250 girls enjoyed all the fun of an old-fashioned fair in a field at Buzzards Valley, Christine was busily working behind the scenes to make sure the event passed smoothly and safely.

 

This included all elements of health and safety such as risk assessments, safeguarding procedures, equipment checks, infection control, food safety, adult to child ratios, car parking, security, vehicle/pedestrian segregation, crisis situation management, adverse weather condition scenarios, first aid arrangements and fire safety – to name but a few.

Christine added: “Events like this enable me to put everything I know into practise. It also helps to ensure I’m always ahead of the game in the industry. For businesses out there I provide a reasonably-priced and flexible service, from implementing procedures and filling out forms, to staff training. Plus, I’m always at the end of the phone if a query or a crisis arises.

“It’s been a great 10 years and I’m looking forward to many more.”

For more information, contact Christine on 07754 885939.