NEBOSH Diploma Syllabus – Changes

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There can be a perception that gaining the NEBOSH diploma is just a case of memorising a whole lot more facts to impress your friends, practicing a few exam questions and performing well in the exams and assignment.  That’s inevitably part of it, but it’s also a whole new way of thinking – a big step up to being an independent safety professional who can give sound, proportionate advice to a client or employer and make a difference.  Of course, experience adds a great deal to this, but fundamentally it’s about approach – and the intention of the NEBOSH diploma (and similar level qualifications) is to get you to raise your game and mature as a high-thinking and decisively acting individual.  Sadly, like any qualification, we’ve all come across examples of where people achieve the qualification but are utterly ineffective at the job.  We live in an imperfect world.  To make the best of it, you need to work with it. 

The NEBOSH diploma (national or international) is a UK qualification set at level 10 on the Scottish educational system (level 6 on the English/Welsh system).  This is broadly equivalent to a UK degree level.  These levels indicate the level of knowledge, understanding and skill that you need to demonstrate.  It’s obvious that working at this level will mean the topics are more complex, sophisticated (subtle even) and detailed than dealing with the same subject at lower levels.

You need to be able to critically analyse complex safety problems and make professional judgements, sometimes based on limited information (but reasonable assumptions).  That means being able to think for yourself, being creative and not just taking for granted what you’ve been told (which may either be irrelevant, out of context or plain wrong).  That’s thinking it through.  A big part of the expectation at this level is autonomy – working under your own initiative.

So diploma level learning is about being grown up and mature, working independently and taking responsibility for your own learning and development.

What does the NEW NEBOSH Diploma Syllabus mean?

The current NEBOSH Diploma syllabi have been around (with some minor updates) for nearly 5 years and are now being reviewed as part of the standard 5-year cycle. NEBOSH have consulted widely with students, employers, professional bodies, course providers and principal examiners to ensure the revised qualifications are relevant for the needs and challenges of industry and practitioners for the next 5 years.

What does the course cover and how is it assessed?

The syllabus comprises four units:

Unit A: Managing health and safety

Unit B: Hazardous substances/agents

Unit C: Workplace and work equipment safety

Unit D/ID: Application of health and safety management in the workplace

Units. A, B and C are each assessed by a written examination. Unit D/ID is a workplace-based assignment, requiring students to conduct a beneficial review of health and safety arrangements in their own organisation.

What does it mean for me?

This depends on whether you are an existing, new or completed student.

Existing student

You should not really be affected by the changes with completed units transferred to the new syllabus. You have up to July 2017 to complete the examinable units you are currently studying and November 2017 for Unit D/ID submission.

If you complete your Diploma by July 2017 it will not affect you at all.

Transitional Arrangements – Key dates

  • September 2016 – All course providers should begin teaching the new syllabi.
  • October/November 2016 - Students who are currently enrolled on the current syllabus and have not yet completed all units will be automatically transferred to the new syllabi.
  • January and July 2017 examinations – Only content common to both the current and new syllabi will be examined.
  • February 2017 – First submission date for the new Unit DNI assessment (this is now a common unit for both National & International Diploma’s).
  • November 2017 – The last submission date for the existing Unit D/ID assessment.
  • January 2018 examinations onwards – Only content that features in the new syllabi will be examined.
  • August 2018 – Last resubmission date for existing Unit D/ID assessment.  

New Student

Syllabus changes are always a difficult time for students thinking of starting the Diploma, deciding whether to wait until the new syllabus or start on the old.

It is really up to you what you do but if you buy the course now WATA will guarantee the latest up-to-date syllabus and supporting materials.

Completed Students

The change in the syllabus will have no impact on you if you have already completed the Diploma.