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Meet Our Members
Unite Students are Corporate Members
“Corporate membership of IIRSM allows each individual within my team to take up personal membership, which is great because it means they can keep on top of all the various legislative changes, developments in best practice, and changes to standards”
Housing 50,000 students across 22 UK cities presents a unique set of risks and challenges. As well as the traditional health and safety risks to staff, students and contractors, there are broader operational risks connected with security, cybersecurity and business continuity. “We potentially may have to deal with anything from a major building fire to the effects of a terrorist event in a city,” explains Luke Blake, head of operational risk and resilience at student accommodation provider Unite Students.
To create a more holistic approach to managing these diverse risks, the company is currently working to bring together the different areas under a single integrated operational risk management framework. “We want to make sure we’ve got an overarching framework to help drive collaboration" says Luke. "If everyone has a good understanding of all the types of risks that might affect us – whether health and safety, security, information security, or fire – we can better understand our risk profile and manage it more collaboratively and transparently.”
“Such an approach also sets us up well to deal with any future changes and to take advantage of future prospects in the business,” adds Stephanie Camm, the organisation’s head of health and safety, who is leading the project alongside Luke. “If we’ve got an approach that covers different areas so we can all work together, it builds in some adaptive resilience for us as a team.”
Unite Students is a corporate member of IIRSM, and Steph and Luke are individual members, as well as being involved in the Emerging Risk Leaders’ Network, which aims to help future business leaders develop and showcase their talents with peers from different sectors and the wider business community.
“I’m a member of several different organisations,” says Luke. “But the real benefit of IIRSM is the broader scope that it looks at. It’s not focused on one element of risk.”
For both him and Steph, this is a key attraction. “There is a drive within IIRSM and its members to open things up a bit, look at different areas of risk and bring them together,” he adds. “So it is exactly in line with our way of thinking and what we’re trying to do here. For us, that is massively beneficial.”
The IIRSM seminars and the additional support provided as part of the membership are also big pluses. “These are part of the package, rather than coming with additional costs,” says Luke, “which is a huge benefit.”
“It’s not just a membership where we just get an email and magazine every so often,” stresses Steph. “For me, IIRSM also provides an opportunity for personal development.” She has attended and spoken at a range of seminars and is committed to the emerging leaders’ network.
“We also do get the email and the magazine, and there’s always something in there that’s relevant to what we do, and something I can forward on to the wider business that’s relevant too. But IIRSM is offering wider benefits to its members, which is what we really like. It’s a great networking opportunity.”