Grad profile

Lawrence Ogbeni

Photo by Lawrence Ogbeni.

Photo by Lawrence Ogbeni

“I was glad to be involved in the OHS program because it’s given me the privilege and opportunity to...experience a lot of different things.”

From Nigeria to New Zealand, Lawrence Ogbeni has lived and worked around the world. It’s only fitting then, that after completing our Occupational Health and Safety Certificate, his career journey led him to a role as a health and safety coordinator for Swissport at the Vancouver International Airport.

Why did you decide to take the Occupational Health and Safety Certificate?

I felt like I needed to make a career change. I looked into the OHS program and found it very fascinating. Mostly, I looked towards the future and thought about what an ideal career path would be to take, so I wouldn’t have to continue looking for a job. OHS positions kept opening up and it seemed like a good area to go into.

What was the experience of going back to school like?

That was a little bit challenging. I’ve been out of school for a long time and during my courses I had two full-time jobs and a family to take care of. So that was quite challenging, but I was very determined…and at the end of the day it was worth it. One of my lecturers, Bruce Jackson, was very helpful. Part of the reason I finished was because of him. He was very instrumental in making sure that everybody in the program was successful.

What was the most valuable part of the Occupational Health and Safety Certificate?

Although I was already working in safety-related roles, I didn’t have the education that most employers are seeking nowadays for a more specialized role. One of the most valuable takeaways for me…was the ability to gain a better foundation in the legal and ethical requirements that employers are facing today. The classroom setting and online options, and the ability to network and share ideas with others has helped me with my ability to influence positive safety results. The OHS program at SFU also provided some great elective course options, such as Rehabilitation and Disability Foundations and Interventions and Return-to-Work Process, which are relevant in workplaces in any industry.

What did you do after completing the Occupational Health and Safety Certificate?

I started working right away. I work for Swissport as a health and safety coordinator at the airport. It’s quite challenging but I’ve learned a lot…and SFU prepared me for it.

What do you enjoy the most about your career in occupational health and safety?

I enjoy everything about it. What I enjoy the most is that I deal with individuals from all walks of life. I make sure that everyone is safe. My greatest priority is to see that they come to work and they get home safe. I’ve never worked in the airline industry before and now I work with a lot of different employees, big planes, pilots, captains, everything—it’s a different world entirely. Working at the airport is like a different community. When I go to work I look forward to it. I was glad to be involved in the OHS program because it’s given me the privilege and opportunity to work in this industry and experience a lot of different things.

“I was glad to be involved in the OHS program because it’s given me the privilege and opportunity to...experience a lot of different things.”