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  • Matt Spencer

Discover the career of a Senior SHE Officer with working experience in Angola


What industry do you work in and what exactly are your skills?

I work within the field of Petro-chemical/Gas Safety. I manage and maintain current SHE systems. I do system/field audits to ensure the effectiveness of the current system, and look for areas of improvement. Additionally I do incident/accident investigations, implement remedial and long term actions including follow-ups to measure effectiveness and ensure employees adhere to company policy, standards and procedures.

What inspired you to get into this sort of industry?

During my employment in Angola, I was part of the E&I team. As a team leader I was expected to manage the safety of my team as well. I have had previous experience in SHE before, although this is where I made the transition full time.

What qualifications and experience did you have to gain in order to establish yourself and therefore become a professional within your industry?

I have completed all the basics, including first aid as well as SAMTRAC and COMSOC. I have extensive knowledge and am extremely hardworking. Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to further my studies as I would love to. Although my years of experience starting as a junior SHE Officer, to eventually be a Senior SHE Officer and part of junior management is priceless.

What is the most challenging aspect within your field of work?

The most challenging aspect would definitely be the diversity of employees. They do not always seem to share our views on the dangers of tasks being performed, and all the admin work that goes with that.

How do you manage and overcome these challenges?

I believe building a good working relationship with all the employees, your approach to the person and the problem, and your way of speaking would most of the time have a great impact on how people react and co-operate.

What has been the highlight of your career?

During my employment for a firm, I assisted to improve parts of the SHE system, helping with the development and improvement of the system.

If somebody starts as a trainee / beginner within your line of work, what could they earn in salary?

As a SHE Ref, I believe it will be around R5 000 – R8 000 p/m.

What can this person expect to earn after 10 years of experience?

With experience and depending on the qualifications, between R40 000 – R 100 000+ p/m.

Who is your role model and why?

Richard Branson. Because of his success story, where he began and the empire he has now. He also seems to be a very modest and a down to earth person.

What motivates you to work this hard?

What motivates me is receiving respect and support from seniors, and my own will to succeed and excel in my career.

What is your outlook within your industry over the next 5 years?

I would like to advance further in my skills and knowledge as well formally complete my studies.

As you know, numerous African countries are being invested in due to their rich minerals. Which country within Africa do you think will be the next hot spot and why?

I think Angola is only starting to show its true potential now. During my time working in Angola, it came clear on the quantity of oil still to be recovered. I am sure there are many countries attempting to negotiate terms of the mining of oil.

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