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Volunteers' Week Spotlight: Petya Dimitrova, QHSE Manager

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

One fun fact about me is that I have a passion for art and love expressing myself through various forms. From painting and nail art to cake decorations, I've explored different creative outlets. Surprisingly, many don't know that I also enjoy baking in my spare time. What draws me to baking is the intricate detail in the finished product, much like the strokes of a brush or the precision in nail designs.

Tell us about your career journey so far.

My career journey has been a winding path filled with unexpected turns and pivotal decisions. Initially, I aspired to become an architect during my school years. Despite applying to five UK universities and receiving conditional offers based on language proficiency, I faced setbacks when I repeatedly failed the English test, falling short by just three points each time. Disheartened but determined, I shifted gears and pursued a degree in business and economics at a Bulgarian university, with the intention of venturing into administration or banking.

However, life had different plans for me, leading me to Scotland where I found myself working on a farm, far from my envisioned career path. Though initially challenging, I embraced the opportunity and gradually carved a niche for myself in the technical field. Each decision along this journey was guided by a mix of necessity, opportunity, and personal growth. While the path may have deviated from my initial plans, I've found fulfilment and enjoyment in the unexpected twists and turns, ultimately embracing the journey with open arms.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

My favourite subjects in school were math and art. Math challenged me and kept my mind engaged, fostering problem-solving skills and critical thinking. On the other hand, art provided an avenue for self-expression and creativity, allowing me to explore different forms of visual communication. Both subjects complemented each other, with math providing structure and logic while art offered freedom and expression. Together, they enriched my educational experience and provided a well-rounded set of skills for both analytical and creative pursuits.

What subjects/qualifications/skills are useful for your role?

In my current role, a diverse range of subjects, qualifications, and skills come into play on a daily basis. Science and math are essential for analysing data and solving technical problems. English proficiency is crucial for effective communication with colleagues and clients. Additionally, strong problem-solving abilities and analytical thinking are indispensable for addressing challenges and optimizing processes. Furthermore, subject-specific training such as IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) certification is vital for ensuring workplace safety and compliance. Overall, a well-rounded skill set encompassing various disciplines is invaluable for success in my role.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

My favourite aspect of my job is the opportunity to make a tangible impact through various channels, whether it's in customer communication, resolving consumer complaints, or addressing internal matters. Working closely with different departments allows me to facilitate positive changes and improvements across the organization. One particular highlight that stands out is when I spearheaded a cross-departmental project aimed at streamlining our quality and food safety processes. Seeing the successful implementation of our strategies and witnessing the positive outcomes for both customers and colleagues was incredibly rewarding and solidified my passion for my role.

What is a normal day in your role like?

In my role, no two days are ever alike, which keeps things exciting and dynamic. Some days, I'm on the factory floor, investigating and resolving issues to ensure smooth operations. This might involve troubleshooting machinery or addressing quality concerns. Other days, I'm focused on staff training and coaching, nurturing the skills and expertise of our team members to enhance productivity and efficiency. And then there are days dedicated to paperwork and customer communication, where I might be drafting reports, responding to inquiries, or strategizing ways to improve customer satisfaction. The variety in tasks keeps me engaged and challenged, and I find fulfilment in the diverse range of responsibilities that come with the role. If you thrive in a fast-paced environment where every day brings new challenges and opportunities for growth, this could be the perfect job for you.

And what does your job title mean?

As a QHSE Manager, my role involves overseeing Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment (QHSE) standards within an organization. I'm responsible for ensuring that products and processes meet quality standards, implementing health and safety protocols to protect employees and customers, and managing environmental sustainability initiatives. This role entails developing and enforcing policies, conducting audits and inspections, and collaborating with various departments to continuously improve operational practices. Additionally, I have managerial responsibilities, such as leading a team of Quality Assurance Advisors and liaising with senior management to align strategies with organizational goals. Essentially, I'm entrusted with safeguarding the well-being of both people and the environment while maintaining high standards of quality in all aspects of the business.

Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?

An engaging activity that aligns with waste recycling and utilizing waste materials at home is creating DIY crafts from recyclable materials. This not only promotes sustainability but also encourages creativity and resourcefulness.


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