Raj Kandola Talks About LIfe After KTP

Guest Blog from Leeds Beckett University
Originally published in October 2020 here.

Written by Rajkiran Kandola.

The KTP was a partnership between Amey and Leeds Beckett University’s Research & Enterprise Team, in collaboration with the ‘Psychology Applied to Safety & Health’ research team. After the first associate employed to deliver the project left for pastures new, it opened up an opportunity for me to drive forward the initiative – and it’s certainly an opportunity I haven’t regretted taking.

The project was designed to drive innovative safety toolkits, used to gather non-traditional safety metrics in order to bring Amey’s ‘TargetZero’ ambitions to fruition. The toolkits examine the psychological and human factor variables such as; workload, job pressure, safety climate and risk propensity. They provide the management team with knowledge of shared perceptions and attitudes of human factor variables to gather a detailed, standardised understanding of the key risks in which targeted improvement plans can be derived.

Since the project completed and was awarded a grade of ‘Outstanding’ by Innovate UK, it has been a continuous exciting challenge. My new role as Human Factors Business Partner has created a series of opportunities centred around the growth of ThinkSafe and enhancing the knowledge and expertise in human factors across the organisation. ThinkSafe has now been rolled out to over 2,000 employees and has been utilised in several circumstances. I have gone on to train 15 internal ThinkSafe ‘Champions’ who support the framework rollout, and act as key knowledge sharers across the business.  The KTP was also internally awarded Amey Consulting’s Target Zero award for its efforts in embedding a psychological and human factor approach to safety in 2019.

2020 has been a challenging year for many of us and the foundations of ThinkSafe also helped develop an additional ‘Future World of Work’ survey distributed to Amey Consulting’s business unit to gain an understanding of employee attitudes to working from home as a result of the pandemic, which was rolled out earlier this year.

Most notably and recently, Amey were also awarded the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Initiative of the Year Award 2020 for its ‘ThinkSafe’ project.

Despite a complex, long term KTP, looking back at these achievements is certainly something to be proud of. The KTP provided the building blocks for not only ThinkSafe to grow, but for me to grow professionally and personally. Whilst working full time at Amey, I am also continuing to complete my Chartership in Occupational Psychology which I started during the KTP. The hard work doesn’t stop here though, ThinkSafe is now becoming further embedded at Amey with continuous rollouts in place, with extensions to the survey and new areas for further exploration in environmental attitudes.

For anyone considering a KTP or research-based partnership my advice would be to go for it! Will it be a challenge? Yes!  Will it be complex and require a lot of hard work? Yes! Will it all be worth it in the end? Yes!

Seeing and being part of the all the outputs of the KTP produced and ThinkSafe continues to produce, still makes me feel enthused in my role nearly 2 years later!

Rajkiran Kandola is a former Research Associate in the School of Social Sciences. Raj was based in Birmingham working with Amey, a leading multinational supplier of consulting and infrastructure support services, with the aim of reducing safety incidents across the company’s consulting and rail business and its supply chain.

Rajkiran’s Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP) embedded a behavioural safety strategy underpinned by a psychological, data driven approach with research from Leeds Beckett.