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

Find out more about the Institute of Risk Management and our Training, Membership and Qualifications.