Facilities Management (FM) involves providing a quality and cost effective maintenance and care service for a wide range of commercial and public buildings, such as hotels, office and shopping complexes, arenas, educational or convention centres. Facilities Managers make sure that facilities such as security, catering, and cleaning (referred to as ‘soft services’) and maintenance and building services (referred to as ‘hard services’) run smoothly, so that customers can run their businesses efficiently with the minimum disruption to services. The sector is also responsible for property and estates management, including energy management and environmental protection.
FM is a growing industry in Wales. Between 2001 and 2010 the number of employees increased from under 1,000 to over 4,000 and the number of workplaces nearly trebled to just under 500 workplaces by 2012. FM workplaces are mainly small organisations, employing less than ten people. It is likely that the number of people employed in FM is significantly higher. The FM industry is currently difficult to quantity due to the lack of data under a specific standard industry classification code.
Recent surveys show that Facilities Managers were optimistic about the sector with 96% planning to expand their business in 2013 and a significant proportion looking to increase staff numbers – 42% of responses predicted a 10% rise in staff numbers. Facilities Management plays a key role in the Business Services sector, identified by the UK Government in 2009 as one of the six areas of future growth. There is the potential to expand into new areas such as education, leisure and manufacturing sectors and the Green Agenda which is increasingly important, however employers report that around a third of their staff do not have the skills to make this happen.
Challenges faced by Facilities Management companies include:
- Staffing & Training. Finding the right staff with the right skills and retaining skilled staff and helping staff get to grips with technical, procurement, energy management, customer service aspects of the job and encouraging managers to complete training;
- Attracting more young people into Facilities Management which, as a fairly new profession is not seen by young people as a career option, to counter act an ageing workforce;
Internal factors such as increasing efficiency, managing with budget cuts and keeping costs down, as well as securing funding and getting clients to pay on time;
- Market share. Competition from other organisations and the impact this is having on the ability of companies to retain existing business and secure new contracts;
- The need to keep up to date with new legislation, particularly around the low carbon agenda as well as other areas, such as health and safety;
- Technical skills gaps. Within FM a lack of skills in this area may result in an inability to effectively maintain or repair building systems which will have an adverse effect on energy management;
- Just under a third of the workforce have qualifications below Level 2 or no qualification at all.
Future competencies required by the sector include:
- Knowledge of outsourcing strategies;
- A broader set of generic management skills linked to customer service and relationship management;
- Sustainability in its broadest definition and greater skills will be required in this area as a result;
- Enhanced IT skills – due to the growth of intelligent buildings linked to the design of energy efficient systems;
- Skills and knowledge relating to legislation and regulation, including TUPE, health, safety and environmental protection;
- Commercial awareness and financial skills in relation to managing budgets and profits.
Facilities Management is a new industry and there has not been a traditional route into the sector. The FM apprenticeship will help to address this and to professionalise the role. Employers have been involved with the design of the qualifications in this framework which will develop the critical skills required within the sector and the framework has also been updated to meet the requirements of the new Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for Wales.
Apprentices will work as a Assistant Facilities Manager, team leader or be employed in a trainee role, resolving problems and ensuring the smooth running of facilities and services. Foundation apprentices will work as multi-skill Facilities operatives, reporting to Facilities Managers, and will undertake a variety of duties depending on customer and organisational requirements. Higher level apprentices will be a Facilities Manager or Building Services Manager. At level 5 the job roles will have added responsibility such as managing large or multi-site contracts.
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