The Argument for Qualifications OR Experience in Facilities Management
Qualifications OR Experience in Facilities: Which would you pick if you wanted to be a successful Facilities Manager?
Peter Forshaw, Managing Director for Maxwell Stephens argues the case.
I am delighted to have been involved with one of the BIFM’s special interest groups recently. Only through dealing with Samantha Bowman and her extremely capable colleagues from the BIFM Rising Sig and having read recent reports particularly the Sector Skills Assessment for the Facilities Management Industry 2010 have I now realised how big a problem the skills gap is!
The signs have definitely been there for me for a while; maybe I have been too busy with the day Job and have ignored them previously!
Within facilities management there is a higher proportion of employees aged 55+, and a significantly lower proportion of employees aged between 16-24. In addition two thirds of employment within the facilities management industry is male and those qualified to Level 3 or above in 2008 was only 56% – This equates to an A level.
Half of all companies have also reported skills gaps amongst their managers. The most frequently cited were people management skills, leadership and a lack of project management skills.
There is a useful process of up-skilling and education within some of the professional qualifications on offer. The new decade has certainly brought its challenges to the job market, with high numbers of unemployed and some others fearing redundancy resulting in greater competition for jobs than ever before. So individuals should now bother with training, self-improvement and striving for new professional facilities management or even academic qualifications, which are helpful for personal growth and for increasing your range and depth of capabilities.
We are still in recession and it has the potential to be the worst for 100years, this has ultimately focused minds on cutting cost, reducing service and extending PPM timelines.
There is clearly an argument that companies and individuals cannot afford training. However the government has said “just get on with it”. We have to make it work and it’s all about working in partnership with the institutes and supporting organisations to the facilities management industry.
There are free opportunities that could always be exploited including – seminars and networking events run by the BIFM, the FMA and the RICS.
Maxwell Stephens are delighted to have been involved with the Recent BIFM Rising FM SIG “Career Day”. (Please click here to read my recent review of the event on our Blog). These ideas of events, themselves encourage training, development and networking.
Internally within facilities management departments, staff should also encourage team members to share learning (Internal workshops) and then there is always mentoring!
The question of Experience vs. Qualifications is now not the right one:
We need facilities managers that have both experience and qualifications and maybe we should focus our brilliant minds on closing the increasing skills gap.