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Richard Bendall-Jones, IRMCert: Risk and Value Manager, Network Rail

Richard Bendall-Jones IRMCert

Risk and Value Manager

Network Rail


How did you get your job?

I started life in construction as a project manager. I was often sat on the other side of the table of a risk practitioner, thinking “I’d love to have a go at doing what you do”. I loved the mix of numbers and psychology. So I applied for an analyst job, and didn’t get it. But a year later, and a year’s construction experience wiser, another role came up and I was successful.

What’s a typical day like as a Risk and Value Manager?

It’s a mix of workshops, meetings, talking to people, visits to construction sites, building and delivering training courses, and most importantly, developing my staff. The spare seconds in-between I use to write and check reports.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love providing information that influences decision making, making a difference to the outcomes of our projects, programmes and portfolios.

I also like being able to approach challenges in a fresh and creative way to help my teams.

What are the challenges?

The temptation to try and become a specialist in everything is overpowering. I have learnt to recognise that while a risk manager needs to be adaptable to their surroundings, there is no shame in having a support network of helpful colleagues.

In what way are your IRM qualifications relevant?

They help me to understand risk practice in industries different to my own (rail infrastructure). That means I can transfer concepts and use them in new ways to add value.

What would you say to others thinking about joining IRM as a member?

I find membership of the IRM really useful for networking, to meet like-minded individuals to discuss risk topics and appreciate that I am not alone in the challenges I face.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions? Has being linked to the IRM helped?

I’ve progressed from a risk analyst to a risk manager in the last few years, and many of the concepts from the IRM Certificate in Risk Management have allowed me to approach unfamiliar scenarios with confidence.

I have further ambitions to work with the academic community in the field of risk and decision making to complement my work on our projects in the North of England, so I am hoping the IRM can help with that.

Top tips:

Talk - Find a local risk person and ask them what they do - see if that appeals to you

Learn - there are lots of transferable books to get you started that aren’t dusty risk textbooks, by authors such as Nicholas Nassim Taleb or Daniel Kahneman

Ask lots of questions - to get closest to the truth, we need to ask a lot of questions. Not just to our colleagues in meetings, but also to challenge existing processes and to challenge ourselves to become better