Holly works as an Environmental Health Officer within Protective Services. Originally from Leeds, Holly studied Environmental Health at The University of Newcastle, graduating in 2016.
Holly has worked for a number of local authorities starting with a one year placement at Durham County Council during her studies. Holly has lived in Scotland now for 3 years and previously worked at Scottish Borders Council in a similar role before joining East Lothian. Holly said: “I have been with East Lothian Council since July 2021 and haven’t looked back. It is such an incredible place to work and I feel very fortunate to really enjoy my job.”
Holly said: “I feel that Scotland is similar to Yorkshire in many aspects, with great access to the outdoors and incredible people. I have been working in Local Government for five years, specifically in the department of Environmental Health. In that time I have worked for three different authorities and done a lot of exploring. The main reason why I wanted to work in Local Government is for the flexibility of working hours. In my opinion work life balance is really important for general health and wellbeing. – As they say, ‘Your health is your wealth’!
Holly’s role involves working closely with the public. “I enjoy working with the public, especially the residents and businesses across East Lothian. It is rewarding to provide a practical service that supports residents whilst interacting with them. Another benefit that I have enjoyed whilst working in Local Government is the opportunity for further training, I think it’s good to step out of your comfort zone and try learning new things. We are so lucky to have the skill of continual improvement and new opportunities.”
What does an Environmental Health Officer do?
Holly said: “Being an Environmental Health Officer can be hard to explain, many people don’t realise we exist or really understand what we do. Our remit is very wide which suits people like me who like being busy and doing practical things.
Environmental Health is an old profession that could be said originates in the Victorian era with the establishment of ‘Sanitation Officers’. Back in the 19th century they were on the front line of improving poor working and living conditions, especially in rapidly growing industrial cities. This has now changed to suit our modern day environment and the environmental stressors that now exist.
Environmental Health is split into 5 core disciplines:
- Public Health
- Air Quality and Environmental Protection
- Food Safety and infection control
- Commercial Health and Safety
Everyone reading this will come into contact with Environmental Heath on a daily basis, from the food that you eat to the housing standard that you live in. We are the safety net that regulates and promotes better environmental and physical health. You may have seen us in our white coats inspecting food premises, or changing tubes at an air pollution monitoring station or inspecting drainage systems.”
Holly is currently working in the Business Regulation team, specialising in Food Safety along with Health and Safety. Holly said: “We also inspect all of our talented tattooists and skin piercers across East Lothian to ensure they are meeting minimum requirements.”
However, most recently Holly has been working with businesses around correct Covid-19 control measures.
Holly said: “My day to day consists of discussing controls for food & health and safety with local businesses. Investigating health and safety complaints along with any recent accidents. Interpretation of new legislation. Completing any necessary training. Inspecting premises and working on proactive projects when time allows.”
What do you like to do outside the office?
Holly is an avid sea swimmer and can often be found at Longniddry Bents or Gullane enjoying a dip with her friends. Holly said: “I swim for my mental health as it feels like I’ve pressed ‘Ctrl alt delete’ for my brain. I also love how it reconnects me to nature but most importantly the hot chocolate and slice of cake after! I also play badminton and an alto singer in a choir.
But most importantly I love being outside, just being in the fresh air makes me feel alive. One of the reasons why I adore working and living in East Lothian is the access to beautiful scenery. It really can’t be beaten.