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Ford & Stanley Executive

Opportunity Brief: Head of HSE

Ford & Stanley Executive Search (Part of the Ford & Stanley Group) are specialists in Executive Interim and Permanent appointments to the UK & North American, Rail, Engineering and General Manufacturing Industries.

We have been exclusively entrusted and appointed by our client on a retained search for a Head of HSE that will be pivotal in ensuring the continued growth and evolution of the business.

Below you will find an ‘opportunity brief’ developed from notes taken during the scoping meeting (Situational Discovery) held between the Research Manager of F&S Executive Search, Senior Research Associate and COO. This brief is designed to give candidates a deeper insight into the opportunity inherent within the role, the challenges the role presents and provide access to the detail that sits behind the job specification.

Client Opportunity Statement:

“We are currently on an improvement journey and its imperative that we hire an experienced, passionate and pragmatic Head of HSE to join us on our journey. There will be lots of short- and long-term improvements to be made to how we work, it is important that the successful candidate takes ownership of this but doesn’t try and do everything at once, making sure that the business have Health and Safety at the heart of all they do but remembering its marathon and not a sprint!”

“The Head of HSE will take the lead in this hands on role, current Health and Safety culture is good but there’s improvements that can still be made to improve efficiencies. With a diverse workforce it will not be a ‘one size fits all’ approach to empowering the workforce, upskilling teams and working with internal stakeholders will be paramount. – Its going to be hard work but worth it!”


The Opportunity

Main challenges that will be encountered in the 1st year:

  • A safety critical environment; current culture is good but there’s improvements that can still be made. With a diverse workforce it will not be a ‘one size fits all’ approach to empowering the workforce.
  • Currently on an improvement journey and there will be lots of short and long term improvements to be made, it is important that the successful candidate takes ownership of this but doesn’t try and do everything at once.
  • A site with considerable heritage, and this factored in with the work carried out this means that there are unique challenges, we are needing someone who is comfortable working in such an environment.


Top deliverables in the 1st year:

  • The candidate will be required to produce a safety plan and put this in place on what they want to achieve along with their KPI’s – track, trend and demonstrate.
  • Keep on improving on safety culture within the business and make sure there is buy in from the whole business, to ensure everyone takes Health and Safety into their own hands.
  • Review the current process and procedures that is in place, spend time with teams to integrate HSE into everyday ways of working and ensure best practices are in place.


Agreed Hard Skills for candidates to secure an interview:

  • NEBOSH Diploma qualified / working towards or Level 6 Equivalent
  • CMIOSH or working/willing work towards
  • Capable of building strong relationships across the business to ensure collaboration between departments, stakeholder management and empowerment of workforce.
  • Able to operate in a hands-on fashion and be present across the site.
  • A solid background knowledge of Health and Safety in a heavy maintenance/engineering environment.
  • Environmental qualification desirable however not essential


Agreed Soft Skills for candidates to secure an interview:

  • Ability to articulate themselves well at all levels, from shop floor to board room
  • An ambitious, energetic individual who is keen to learn and progress their career.  
  • Genuine and authentic individual that is personable to support people buying into Health and Safety
  •  Based in the Midlands, the business currently operates a hybrid 2 days remote 3 days in office, but it is expected that the Head of HSE will have a regular site presence to lead and manage the team.
  • Minimum 5 Years Experience in a HSE Role
  • A strong motivator of people, able to set a culture and foster a strong working environment.


Good to know:

  • The position has become available due to the current Head of HSE leaving the business. The businesses sister company’s HSE lead is currently supporting the Health and Safety function whilst the recruitment process progresses.
  • The role reports into COO with 1 direct report with a view to bring a further person into the team.
  • We are looking for someone ambitious who is keen to progress their career in line with business growth.
  • The business currently operates a hybrid 2 days remote 3 days in office, but it is expected that the Head of HSE will have a regular site presence to lead and manage the team.
  • The Head of HSE will be collating reports, conduct investigations, review paperwork, Identifying H&S Training needs for members of the team, chairing the HSE meetings and driving continual improvement.
  • It is key this person doesn’t get ‘bogged down’ in trying to implement new processes in their first 6 months, instead work closely with the team to build a positive culture, encouraging open communications and spend time with teams to integrate themselves within the business.
  • The current safety culture is good, there is a diverse workforce with some ‘old school’ ways of working which will require some cultural changes to change the ways in which people are currently viewing Health and Safety this will require the incumbent to be able to manage relationships internally.
  • Currently there is a mixture of ‘low hanging fruit’/quick wins and longer-term initiatives and changes that are needed, it is important that the successful candidate understands that this is a ‘marathon and not a sprint’.
  • They will be required to maintain the ISO 45001 management system whilst taking the lead on external audits and managing the internal audit schedule.
  • Successful candidate will need to undertake a Medical, Drug and Alcohol test.

Budget & Benefits:

Low £55,000/ Mid £60,000/ Top end £65,000. (depending on experience)

  • 25 days holiday plus Bank holidays
  • Life Assurance: 4* basic annual salary
  • EAP- Health Assured
  • Buy and sell holiday (5 days)
  • Company shutdown over Christmas
  • Pension: 4.4% EE 6% ER
  • Business travel and accommodation expenses for those further afield lodging away.

Likely Job Titles:

“Head of HSE, Senior HSE Manager, HSE Manager, QHSE Manager, Group HSE Manager, HSQE Manager, SHEQ Manager, Head of SHEQ, Group SHEQ Manager, Health and Safety Manager”

The interview process:

  • 1st Stage, Remote competency-based interview with the COO.
  • 2nd Stage, Face to Face meeting. Likely to lead by COO & HR Manager (Likely to be onsite and to include a site tour, presentation, and formal interview.)

Executive Search Delivery Team:

  • Emma Barlow – Senior Research Associate (Headhunting, Networking, Research, Search, Longlisting, Shortlisting, Interviews, Data & Market Intel)
  • Oliver Nunn – Research Manager (Headhunting, Client Recommendations/Advisory, Offer Negotiations)
  • Ralitsa Kuzeva – Executive Associate (Diary Management, Coordination, Candidate Experience)


About Ford & Stanley Executive Search:

At Ford & Stanley Executive Search we go beyond a recruiting transaction with our core mission being that of every interaction we have with clients and candidates is best in class. We are select in the opportunities we represent, as such, work under strict exclusive and retained search assignments with forward-thinking and proactive global companies that place their trust in our ability to deliver a winning shortlist at the first time of asking.

Our Search Directors (who are themselves members of the F&S Group Board) and our in-house research team invest time at the front end of process with our client’s leadership team or stakeholders to consult, understand the opportunity inherent within the role, business need, map and agree timescales with supporting delivery plan well in advance of conducting the search.

All candidates both active and passive (head-hunted) can expect full and professional engagement from the Executive Search team in addition a timely, thorough and engaging recruitment process from a committed employer that seeks to secure ‘cream of the crop’ from a busy and noisy candidate market.

    • Job type: Permanent
    • Location: Midlands
    • Date posted:
    • Salary:£55000 - £65000

    This opportunity is being managed by:

    consultant photo

    Emma Barlow

    Senior Research Associate