Critical need for risk management training

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Recent events have highlighted a critical need to improve the provision of training and development for risk professionals in Australia, according to Rod Farrar, director of Paladin Risk Management Services. “With the increase in the understanding of the role that risk management plays, or that a lack of risk management has played, in the global financial crisis, the oil spill in the Gulf … it’s put it into stark reality that management of risk is an important function,” he said.

In addition, the passing of the Public Governance Performance and Accountability Bill 2013 has increased the focus on risk management at a federal government level and throughout the public sector. But this legislation cannot be effective without well-trained risk managers. “There needs to be commensurate skills and if those training opportunities aren’t available, then it makes it very, very difficult to get those people with the necessary skills,” he said.

In a comparison with project management, Farrar pointed out that risk management was far behind in terms of training. Whereas there are clear vocational pathways for project management, and educational options at every level, the choices are much more limited in risk management. “Risk management training, up until recently, has been very limited in its availability and we’re just starting to see that changing now,” Farrar said.

“The biggest challenge is … very rarely, if ever, do you hear somebody at school saying, ‘I want to be a risk manager when I grow up.’ It’s something that people tend to morph into as they go through their careers,” he added.

Farrar identified a critical need for a clear vocational pathway for risk managers, and this motivated him to establish his own academy of risk management training last year. “I identified that there was no holistic approach to risk management training across the industry and so I opened the academy with the view to becoming the centre of excellence for risk management training across the country,” he explained.

He currently offers a diploma in risk management business continuity and an advanced diploma in governance, risk, and compliance. At the completion of each course, the risk manager acquires both the qualification and membership to and accreditation from the Risk Management Institute of Australia.

Related article: Commonwealth to focus on risk management

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