School of Occupational Health and Safety, Certificate in Health, Safety and Environmental Processes (CHSEP) Alumna
Born and raised in Minto, a small coal mining community in rural New Brunswick, Melanie Powers is familiar with competition and job challenges. Her first big leap was a move to the nearby city of Fredericton to attend college. She enrolled in a local community college to take a French course, and then a Graphics Design course. After she graduated, she traveled, and her adventures led her to change her educational focus and assume a new and exciting career path in occupational health and safety.
Melanie’s passion for health and safety began while working on the small eastern Caribbean Island of Canouan in 2007. She was part of an airport expansion project for an international construction company, and it pained her deeply to see the local workers needlessly getting hurt for lack of basic health and safety education and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). She was left with a strong desire to help, but not the expertise.
Melanie began to research the possibilities for health and safety education and, after talking to alumni and doing personal research, Melanie decided on the University of Fredericton. The online format allowed her to manage her children, her education, and career all while completing the Certificate in Health, Safety and Environmental Processes (CHSEP) in one year.
Melanie found that her training at UFred gave her a sense of confidence and the ability to be competitive in New Brunswick, where health and safety skills are in high-demand. She felt a sense of reassurance that the University of Fredericton is so near to her hometown, and as a self-described “smother and helicopter mom,” Melanie knew that she had an aptitude for seeing potential risks before they caused harm. UFred’s flexible online Certificate in Health, Safety and Environmental Processes (CHSEP) program was the best choice to fit her ambitions and her busy life.
For her guided practicum, Melanie wrote a safety manual for a drilling and blasting company. This exercise allowed her the confidence needed to begin a new career in drilling and blasting. Her contract work with C&E Refractories and Reftech, where she states 90% of everything they do is high-hazard and high-risk, is providing the experience she will need to reach her future goals.
Going forward, Melanie hopes to achieve her CRSP designation. She will remain in Canada at first, but eventually, she hopes to return to the Caribbean. “My heart belongs in the Caribbean,” she says, “It’s a great place to live, and a great place to retire.”
Melanie’s UFred occupational health and safety education, combined with her working experience, have allowed her the opportunity to pursue her future goals. She hopes to significantly enhance the on-the-job conditions of workers first here in Canada, and then abroad. She is also confident that, no matter where in the world she is, UFred will be there for her continuing education needs.