Helen Turner, Resilience Planning Officer

Helen Turner has been BTP’s resilience planning officer for Wales and Western since September 2015 and is based in Cardiff.

Helen Turner

“I joined BTP straight after completing my Masters in Geopolitics and Security, where a large part of my studies was spent considering resilience and the governance of emergency, producing projects very similar to what I now work on.

“I was humbled to be invited back to my university recently to talk about my role and resilience as a profession, not just an academic interest. It was so pleasing to see the female students taking an interest in my journey from being an aspiring young student to living and breathing resilience planning as my livelihood, and I hope this can go some way towards inspiring the next generation.

“My day-to-day role encompasses all areas of emergency planning. Testing and exercising is a big focus of what I do; it was incredible to be involved in Exercise Unified Response last year (along with the four other brilliant female BTP resilience planning officers), which was based on a major building collapse, incorporating heavy transport and mass casualties. This was the largest multi-agency disaster simulation exercise ever held in Europe.

“For a resilience professional, there’s a great deal of time spent working with other organisations, particularly at the Local Resilience Forums. It’s there that I encounter women who I’m proud to call colleagues – women who are at the top of their profession, be it emergency services or otherwise, and who contribute real value rather than just being ‘a seat at the table’.

“For me, International Women’s Day is a chance to reflect on the successes and achievements of women, but also to consider what still needs to be done to achieve equality. The recent women’s marches across all continents were a loud example of what organised women can do. I hope that momentum will continue so that the gender pay gap will be abolished in my lifetime.

“With my family roots being Welsh, starting work with BTP in Cardiff felt like coming home and has lent itself to a fantastic social life – something I couldn’t have even imagined being a nervous new starter, but one I’m massively grateful for. I’m currently one year into reading for what should be a six-year (part time) PhD in Geography at Swansea University, and aim to graduate at 29.

“In what’s left of my spare time I enjoy fishing and represent my university in rifle shooting, while I’m also a bit of a daredevil - I hold a BPA license and love skydiving.”