‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ this question has haunted us all from being as young as 4 or 5 years old. I don’t ever remember turning around telling people I wanted to be an emergency planning officer. I wanted to be an actress or a zookeeper or even a bus driver at one point. I was an indecisive child. But then something changed when I was flicking through the university prospectus, completely unaware of what do with my life and feeling immense pressure to figure this all out and fast. I came across ‘Disaster Management and Emergency Planning’ and that was that, I was hooked. I didn’t fully understand what I was getting myself into or what I was even about to study, but I was interested and that was half the battle.
With some emergency planning courses leading to 100% employment or further study after graduation, it’s clear to see there is some noteworthy talent in this area. So, we’ve decided to take a closer at some of the aspiring and future resilience professionals, the next generation. After conducting a short survey to some of these students, we’ve been able to get an insight into what makes them want to follow this career path.
‘I want to be able to help others’ this was the most common answer when I asked them all why they wanted this career. I found this quite heart-warming and I hope it shows that we, this younger generation, aren’t just focused on our Instagram posts and eating avocado. I know from personal experience with many of my course peers, that this a genuine answer. Many have worked tremendously hard; working in other countries, working for free to get experience and just doing anything they can to do their bit. I’m sure that the future of resilience profession are going to benefit from this generation of hard workers.
Many repeated the answer of their career and discipline just simply not being understood as one of the challenges they face. This is definitely something I’ve experienced; the importance of emergency planning just seems to be non-existing to those in other industries. I was blind to it too before my studies, it’s a world you never realise exists even though it effects so much of your life. When I tell people what I study or my current role here at the EPC, I often get their confused face, closely by a ‘Erm, what?’. I find this quite amusing, however, I do wish there was some more awareness of the work people in this industry do.
Find out more on some of the next generation of resilience professionals -
Hannah Giles Beskine
Disaster Management and Emergency Planning student
I hadn’t heard of Emergency Planning until I went to an open day on the course and was sold in the first five minutes. I’ve since spent three years learning about the different skills and professions that fall under emergency planning, and how rewarding, fascinating and fun this area of work can be.
My placement year opened my eyes to elements of EP I’d never seen first-hand before and exposed me to some of the more challenging aspects of the job. So now I’ve worked events with 300,000 people trying to leave through one exit, monitored queue systems of over 35,000 through cameras and radios, and drunk more coffee than ever before in my life! Emergency Planning is a fascinating and empowering world.
I get to work in a profession where I really enjoy my work while making a real difference to people’s lives. They may never know about it, but if I do my job well I can make sure their evening happens without incident or help them through what could be the worst part of their lives. Emergency Planning covers such a wide range of topics that there is always something to read up on, plan for, or attend a meeting over – which has made trying to find one area to focus on a fair bit harder than I thought it would be!
Right now, my main interests are in Crowd Management legislation, and the application of laws and guidance in Emergency Planning – particularly the legal defence of organisations/commanders post-incident. This profession is ever-changing and progressing, and I can’t wait to get out there!
Business Resilience Analyst, ICTS – Recent Emergency Planning Graduate (2019)
It was in college when I realised I liked the idea of being in a contingency planning role. The thrill of dealing with incidents and helping people prepare for the worst made me feel almost like a superhero. It wasn’t until my gap year that I found the Disaster Management & Emergency Planning degree at Coventry University that specialised in this area. That was when I felt like I have found my calling.
Four years filled with coursework, exams and crazy memories have flown by and I have now said goodbye to what has been a ‘unique’ university experience. An experience which has led me into a job in Business Continuity and Crisis Management. An area of contingency planning that I didn’t know existed until I studied it and now, I’m making a career out of it.
Disaster Management and Emergency Planning student
Since my childhood I have always enjoyed solving problems and helping people. Once I saw a degree in Emergency Planning, I researched into the topic and I knew if I was going to university, it was to do this course. Having completed two years of university and most of my placement year with Avon Fire and Rescue Service, I think the best moments have been when you realise you have made a difference. I find this incredibly rewarding as often the people who it benefits are not aware of the work ongoing to improve their safety, but when the response is required the improvement can be seen. I also find I am continually inspired by the devotion and work ethic of colleagues in this field, despite it being some of their lifelong careers.
I am looking forward to heading back to university in September for my final year, however, after that I aim to continue in the field of emergency planning although I am still deciding what avenue I would like to specialise in.
Disaster Management and Emergency Planning Student
I’m Rob, I’m currently on placement from Coventry University where I read Disaster Management & Emergency Planning BSc. My placement year has been fantastic. I have experienced many different areas of emergency planning as the Trainee Emergency Planning Officer for the Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire Resilience Team, be it flooding, counter terrorism or event safety. This team has very close ties with the Warwickshire LRF, therefore, through this placement I have now secured a job as the LRF Coordinator for Warwickshire. A job that I will be doing part-time alongside my final year of University.
So, how did I get here? This degree basically tied all my academic interests into one neat bundle as it combines knowledge from, Geography, Politics and Economics... the three A-levels I completed! I still don’t really know why I chose this degree though; however, I do not regret the decision I made. I hope to stay in the field of public sector resilience and develop my career as the field itself develops.
Emergency Planning Officer – Humber Emergency Planning Service
3 ½ years into the job
Emergency planning was a field of work I had never heard of and it wasn’t until I had graduated with my BSc in Physical Geography and was look for jobs that I discovered such a field existed. I then managed to secure an internship opportunity with the British Red Cross in Birmingham as a way of exploring the field in a bit more depth. From this I realised emergency planning was the job for me and decided to undertake a MSc in Emergency Planning and Management from Coventry University. Following this I secured a placement year with my local borough council before heading up north to join Humber Emergency Planning Service in January 2016.
During my three and a half years with Humber Emergency Planning Service I have developed both personally and professionally and can truly say that I have found a profession that I wish to stay in for many years to come. No two days are ever the same and it really provides you with a broad understanding of the organisations you work with. I highly recommend that you grasp every opportunity you are given and gain as much knowledge as you can; after all resilience is such a broad subject. Be flexible and open minded; what works on paper probably won’t work in real life. Remember most of the time our plans and arrangements are going to be used infrequently by people who have other day jobs, so keep it simple; get the right people to the right place at the right time.
Are you an experienced resilience professional who could offer some ‘in hindsight advice’ or have a newcomer in your team you’d like to shed some light on? We’d love to here about it for part 2 of this note. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org