Risk in Focus: Connor McCaffery | GradIRM | Risk Manager | Infrastructure Scotland & Ireland | Turner & Townsend
How did you get your job?
I started in Risk Management in 2012 when I enrolled in the BA (Hons) Risk Management degree at Glasgow Caledonian University. From there I moved to Network Rail and I have been involved in project risk management ever since, eventually joining Turner and Townsend’s Scotland & Ireland Risk Team in late 2018.
What’s a typical day like as a Risk Manager?
I split my time between Dublin and Glasgow. Currently, I am supporting a complex programme of works at Dublin Airport, which involves being ‘on the ground’ with the project team. This is primarily focused on assisting the team manage risk to project objectives on a day-to-day basis, and communicating this information back to the business to provide confidence that risk is being controlled to within acceptable/tolerable limits.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy being the subject matter expert in Risk Management. As a relatively new discipline, and one that managers within infrastructure projects have generally begun to see value in, deference to expertise is common and it gives me a sense of importance of my role within the team.
Further, working in risk has given me the opportunity to work across the UK and Ireland, and will continue to open doors to working in different sectors and industries, across different regions.
What are the challenges?
It can be challenging to convince managers to invest their time and effort in risk management if they have not seen the value it can add. However, it can only be completely efficacious where sufficient time and effort has been invested. Convincing managers of the value of risk management is one of the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of the role.
What would you say to others thinking about taking the ERM Diploma?
The Diploma is challenging, and the topics covered are not only interesting and engaging, but will allow you to develop transferrable knowledge that will be beneficial, whether you work in construction, financial, business/corporate risk or other. The syllabus covers many bases.
What have you been able to put into practice in your job as a result of what you have learnt?
I have been able to complement my service offering with more of a theoretical/academic underpinning, which together with my own work experience, increases the confidence clients have in the advice/services they are given.
Notably, study of the benefits to be gained from effective project risk management, has helped me demonstrate, further, the value my role/function can add to the wider project team.
- Soft skills are equally as important as hard (technical) skills. I have found that people are more likely to engage with the risk management process if they can relate to it.
- Whilst the fundamentals of risk management are common across sectors and industries, in order to correctly apply it you must invest time and effort in understanding the ‘context’. There is no ‘one size fits all’ and risk management will likely be applied differently, wherever you go.
- Especially relevant to the project risk management arena; risk management in projects requires a degree of pragmatism that is learned from experience, rather than books. If you are new to risk management, the opportunity to learn from others with relevant experience is invaluable.