Shaping a bright career path in Occupational Hygiene – Insights from Ash Boss-Handley

Ash Boss Handley

Tetra Tech Coffey’s Associate Occupational Hygiene Specialist, Ash Boss Handley is ready to ‘take on the world’ as she embarks on what she describes as an incredible opportunity to learn and grow in the industry she loves.

Based within Tetra Tech Coffey’s Sydney team, Ash has been selected to participate in the inaugural International Occupational Hygiene Association’s (IOHA) Emerging Leaders Institute (ELI) Conference in Dublin, Ireland in June. The emerging leaders institute focuses on strengthening the leadership skills of Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety professionals with less than 15 years’ work experience.

One of only 30 consultants from across the globe, Ash was selected by IOHA’s to participate in their three-day leadership program, a pre-event to the 2024 International Occupational Hygiene Association Conference.

Tetra Tech recognises that professional development is a key factor in building world class, highly skilled consultants, and are committed to building leaders across the business that inspire, develop and drive high performing and committed teams.

Ash explains “The international conference only takes place every four years, so I feel incredibly honoured to take part in this for the first time in my career. Being able to attend this conference is reflective of Tetra Tech’s focus on supporting it’s emerging professionals.”

“I am so grateful for this incredible opportunity and can’t wait to learn and workshop with other emerging leaders around the world about how we can better lead and influence to protect worker health” said Ash.

How did you pursue a career in Occupational Hygiene?

Ash graduated from her first degree with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Forensics from the University of Technology in Sydney which enabled her to enter the occupational hygiene industry.  “My degree wasn’t specifically relevant to Occ Hygiene, but when I finished high school I thought I was going to save the environment!” she says.

An opportunity arose during a unit networking event where I could apply for an occupational hygiene consultant role. I didn’t really know what it was at the time, but figured if it was a technical scientific role, then I could later transfer to environments. Serendipitously, once I entered the industry, I found that I loved it, and the rest is history.

After working for three years, Ash decided to take the next step and complete a Masters of Occupational Hygiene and Toxicology from Edith Cowan University – WA, all while working full-time.

“While a Masters isn’t mandatory, I found it fast-tracked my technical knowledge and will hopefully enable me to one day become a Certified Occupational Hygienist®.”

What is your long-term Professional development goal?

Next steps professionally is to become a ‘Certified Occupational Hygienist’.  Ash explains, while it’s not necessary to become certified, it is the top qualification in our field in Australia and is recognised by other international agencies across the globe.  “It is like a badge of competence, benchmarked with standards applicable in other parts of the world”. Says Ash.

Obtaining this certification is very challenging, and typically is only achieved by consultants who have been in the industry for 10 or more years’, but it is something Ash has always been interested in achieving.

“I’m fortunate to be in a team of supportive and inspirational Leaders at Tetra Tech Coffey, who not only encourage me to strive for my professional goals but will mentor me on the journey” Ash says.

I’m looking forward to returning from the conference and sharing my learnings with my peers and our clients. I am feeling positive knowing I have a very bright future with Tetra Tech.

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