At university I gained key experience in ‘hands on’ disaster management exercises. One of these involved the scenario of emergency response to a plane crash and the objective was to rescue the passengers and get them to hospital with limited information and resources provided. This occurred in Wales in the freezing winter, where my home for several nights consisted of wood, plastic poles, rope and tarpaulin which when put together created something surprisingly warm. We were being graded under a number of criteria, including teamwork, leadership, communication, utilisation of resources and time. As a group of students who were still learning, it was an exercise that focussed on developing and understanding each other’s skills and the benefits we could bring to the task, whilst working under pressure and difficult conditions to respond to a disaster scenario.
Following my degree, I wanted to experience the real world of disaster management. As daunting as it sounded I was eager to put what I had learnt into practice. I contacted a large local authority to volunteer for their emergency planning team. A placement opportunity was created and I gained 10 months of experience and skills in emergency planning. As a very interesting sector to work in I found it be unpredictable and the job role was to protect the safety of people and businesses against significant threats under civil contingencies act. A key activity I participated in was the review of the “Control of Major Accidents and Hazards” (COMAH) regulations and offsite plans which included participation in training for the duty officers.
I was eager to learn more and to break into my career, business continuity is not an easy industry to enter as a graduate. I had the passion and drive, but without experience I couldn’t gain experience. I joined the steering committee of XGen Business Risk and Resilience, an organisation focussed on developing the skills of qualified resilience practitioners and introducing newcomers to the industry. This enabled me to develop my networking relationships and provide opportunities to show my capabilities for any potential job. During my time on the committee I have been a part of organising a conference for businesses with guest speakers on a number of subjects that include cyber security and business resiliency.
Opportunities were presented though social media. I had work experience within a local authority and I wanted to further my career in the private sector. I was scooped up by CQR as they recognised my passion and drive towards my career in risk and resiliency. I have been thrown into the world of security and resiliency and it is living up to my expectations. My first 3 months have been a great learning curve in not only understanding our methodologies and approach to our service delivery but also understand how we work with our clients and how their business operates. So far my projects have included business continuity plan maintenance, third party business resiliency assessments, development of a building recovery plan, creating governance maturity models for global business continuity program.
Georgina Collett, Information Security Specialist