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Level 6 degree apprenticeship consultation launched by the BIFM…

Working alongside a ‘Trailblazer’ group as well as higher education institutes and employers, the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) is creating a new degree apprenticeship programme specifically aimed at senior facilities managers to equip individuals for a successful sector career.

A draft degree apprenticeship standard has been developed by the ‘Trailblazer’ group which details all requirements of someone working at a senior management level in FM. Furthermore, the standard is open for wider consultation to all employers and organisations not involved in the development process. The group is keen to ensure that the standard has the widest possible support and applicability across the sector(s), and represents good value for money for all potential end-users whatever the size of their company.

Fraser Talbot, Professional Standards and Education Manager at BIFM, commented: “Apprenticeships provide great benefits to both individuals and employers.  For individuals it can provide the knowledge and skills to launch their career within their chosen sector. 

“For employers it can provide them with a skilled, motivated and loyal workforce to meet their business objectives. That is why it is crucial that the trailblazer groups consult with employers and organisations in the wider industry to gather feedback on this proposed degree apprenticeship standard. This will ensure that the FM’s of the future have the knowledge, skills and behaviours required by industry.”

It comes after the government rolled out its ‘English Apprenticeships: Our 2020 Vision’ strategy in a bid to reach three million starts by the year 2020.


To complete the online consultation, click here

FM must digitalise to increase productivity, says JLL…

A recent report from the professional services and investment management company, JLL predicts that companies will continue to implement and embrace a digital facilities management approach; with new technologies changing how businesses handle workforce and facility operations becoming more available.

As workplaces progress to deliver additional flexibility, the ‘Reinventing Facilities Management for the Digital World report warns the FM sector must become a ‘digital business’ to meet rising expectations and demands – focusing on employees as ‘end-users of space’ and distributing an experience that is consistent to increase productivity and attract and retain the best talent.
To find out more and access the full report, click here

Guest Blog, Sarah Bentley: Skills – our opportunity for recognition?

It’s been a busy year politically; what with the referendum and Brexit, changes in party leadership, and the continuous questions about when we trigger Article 50. All this leading to endless speculation about what will or will not happen to UK PLC – how will it affect business, trade, commerce and the supply and movement of labour? Lots of unknowns.

Amidst all of these unknowns, the government has stood firm, however, with its continued commitment to introduce the apprenticeship levy in April 2017. It hasn’t made much noise about it – well, there’s been so much else going on. Even with a new skills minister and a shift in responsibility for apprenticeships from the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to the Department for Education (DfE) – it’s still going ahead. Announced in the summer of 2015, and despite words of warning from employer sector bodies and the CBI that it’s too soon and will wipe out the profits for some businesses, it’s still happening. May and her cabinet are sticking with their plans. April it is then.

During my 20 plus years working in the world of skills and workforce development, I’ve seen governments taking very different approaches to skilling the workforce with varying levels of carrot and stick; with initiatives that simply threw money at the problem, to co-investment and the more recent ‘employer ownership’ philosophy which basically means that businesses are expected to pay; not the public purse. The carrot has gone. It’s basically all stick now.

So how does this affect the facilities management (FM) sector? Well, given that FM service providers are by far some of the largest employers in the UK, there’s no doubt that the apprenticeship levy is going to have an impact; and at 0.5 per cent of their annual salary bill taken at source by HMRC it won’t be an insignificant amount either. Ouch!

I’ve spoken to lots of L&D managers recently and it’s fair to say that views range from “well it’s just a tax, the money’s gone” to “we’re just outsourcing all our levy spend to one provider” and those looking more under pressure have been told to “manage it all internally”. There’s also a general resignation to the fact that it’s just something else to deal with. I’m sure not the optimistic response government might have envisaged when it made the policy announcement.

As my time leading the Building Futures Group – which was the trade association for the FM sector – we fought hard to address its key challenges. FM has an image problem; it isn’t recognised by government as a key sector; young people are not attracted to FM; margins are too low for the service providers to really invest in skills.

Yet the reality is also that those that do work in the sector are passionate about it, there are great roles to be had, opportunities to progress and work in some amazing places. Most people fall into it by accident, but they seem to stay and are by far its biggest advocates.

So with an introduction of a compulsory levy, maybe we have an opportunity for FM businesses to take a step back; review their approach to recruitment and workforce development and address those issues that have held the sector back for far too long. Other sectors that have suffered from similar problems have taken huge strides to address them by taking a new approach to skills, progression and recruitment – take the logistics sector for example, and maybe we can learn from this.

Sure, the levy is only one component of a broader talent and workforce development piece, but if it’s the lever that triggers a change then I support it. Let’s start to look at how apprentices can truly be seen as an equivalent to our graduates; let’s understand what it takes to support our apprentices in their role so they become the FM advocates of the future; promoting the sector, encouraging others to join.

FM companies do already invest a great deal in skills; let’s use the levy creatively, to ensure the sector is getting the skilled workforce it needs. Employers remember, you are in the driving seat now. Its your money. It can only be accessed by providers when you’ve agreed a price and quality of provision that you’re happy with.

Together we can grasp this chance, engage and work it to your advantage. Let’s see the perception of FM change and let’s see our people and businesses thrive by doing so.


Sarah Bentley is joint founder and director of Spaghetti Junction, and an independent training advisor.

T: 07933 412311



Sarah is a business support, enterprise and skills policy professional. Specialising in the facilities management sector, Sarah is passionate about helping businesses and their employees get the best from each-other through access to, implementation and utilisation of skills in the workplace. Sarah is co-founder of Spaghetti Junction and FMCentral and owner of Upkeep Training.

Guest Blog, Colin Kenton: Stimulating the economy by simplifying FM delivery…

The method and merit of Facilities Management (FM) delivery – be it in-house, total, bundled or single stream – has been debated for many years. Getting the correct delivery model for a specific contract has never been more important, especially so with market volatility arising from events such as Brexit. Uncertain times mean the correct service structure and management is essential to securing and meeting targets set out when the contract was tendered. In truth, these models are valid within certain circumstances, and it can never be a case of ‘one size fits all’. Public sector contracts in particular require an absolute assurance of delivery; the scrutiny which large central government departments face means that nothing other than exceptional service for the best possible value is acceptable. The requirement to improve productivity and efficiency is a key motivation not only in the public sector, but with FM in general. Additionally, the need to extract as much value as possible is crucial. This market development has seen a reduction in team resources and has consequently created challenges with delivery capability for both in-house and outsourced offerings.

With SME’s being championed by the government and encouraged to bid for large public sector contracts, the need for smaller businesses that are able to deliver is paramount. The demand to meet service expectations while simultaneously keeping costs to a minimum can be burdensome for smaller businesses, and the overall quality of their service can suffer if it is not managed correctly. The workload that a public sector contract generates can put disproportionate strain on the supplier’s resources and potentially be self-defeating. It is right that SME’s should be encouraged to win major contracts with central government departments; this competition is undoubtedly good for stimulating the economy and safeguarding future prosperity. However, if the contract creates serious issues for the entire business, then this needs to be addressed in a strategic way that helps an SME deliver on expectations while also safeguarding their resources so they are not stretched too thin.

In my experience at KBR, the best method for alleviating this problem is to use an integrated service delivery model (ISDM) that provides the client with a stand-alone matrix of processes, resources, skills and knowledge to manage the execution of its services. This particular model means that the service is capable of meeting the specific needs of each client. From the beginning of an agreement, the sourcing strategy is devised and the supply chain is mobilised while day-to-day management is continually monitored. The bespoke nature of this model means that an integrator can deal with issues – anticipated or unforeseen – while still ensuring that FM services are delivered throughout the contract term as agreed. The single integrated system also ensures that monitoring is non-intrusive and the data accrued is simple to interpret and utilise.

The ability to monitor FM and property performance data means trends can be established and delivery can be modified accordingly. This is a great opportunity for SME’s as the model allows for continual improvement while not physically interfering in the actual execution of FM services from the client itself. The SME can fulfill its contract while benefitting from the influence that an IDSM brings, thus alleviating the potential service stress of a major public-sector contract. If there is a particular issue, it will be identified and discussed with the provider who then makes changes as appropriate – essentially the process of troubleshooting and optimisation is simplified for all parties and the job gets done. Conversely, this model also allows for an integrator to deliver everything independently, if desired. A key benefit of ISDM is its flexibility and applicability.

This model has enjoyed demonstrable success. In 2013, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) went through the biggest transformation of its estate to date. KBR were employed to develop an integrator model which oversaw a total restructuring of its facilities management with the aim of saving £5 million pounds a year. Three years on, the MPS is now seeing £10 million a year in savings, service satisfaction has improved, and the number of SME’s working alongside the MPS has increased by 40 per cent. Integrator payment arrangements are also typically made on a fee basis, so no amount is taken from the original contract agreement itself. The SME is therefore never short-changed in the process; it is a mutually beneficial collaboration. Having an integrator involved is not a prerequisite to an SME’s success in major public contract negotiations, but the assured service they can bring for all parties will certainly make any prospective bid more desirable. Food for thought for those aspiring to supply in the public arena.


As managing director for Facilities Management Services, Colin holds strategic responsibility for the direction and growth of the FM Services business across the UK for KBR. His remit includes Business Development and acquisition: securing contracts, and negotiating at executive level with major clients in both the public and private sectors.

Top 5 global FM suppliers revealed by Technavio…

Basing its findings on key factors such as ROI, sustainability, customer satisfaction, floor occupancy rate, pareto analysis and consistent performance measurement framework, a new report deriving from the global technology research and advisory company, Technavio, has affirmed the top 5 performing global facilities management suppliers up until the year 2020.

The report acknowledges that the FM market is dominated by large ‘global players’ as a majority of supplier companies are getting involved with mergers and acquisitions to achieve maximum international reach; in addition to enhancing their service capabilities. Therefore, it has been suggested that organisations prefer to outsource their FM services and the suppliers are developing environmental management plans to adhere to the industry’s regional and global regulations.

In order, the top 5 global FM suppliers are:

  1. Sodexo: Provides facility management and food services across different industries worldwide. The company serves more than 75 million people every day. It provides more than 234 services for the benefit of clients’ employees. In March 2016, Sodexo was awarded a 10-year contract by Rio Tinto to deliver facility management services for its operations in Australia. 
  2. Compass Group: A global leader in food services and FM support services. K-12 (part of the Compass Group) serves more than two million students every day in the US alone. Approximately, one-third of the top business schools in Europe are served by the company, and the Compass Service Framework was designed by the company to enhance their service capabilities and provide high-quality service to customers. 
  3. Aramark: Currently maintains approximately 1 billion square feet of facilities across multiple industries worldwide. It owns over one million square feet of meeting space globally. The company manages over 45 unique world-class residential and day centers across the US and Canada. In April 2016, Aramark won Citi’s Sustainable Partner Award in recognition of the high-value services provided to the Citi Group. 
  4. ISS A/S: Generates three million work orders on an annual basis. Annually, the company serves 13,809,467 square metres of office and industrial space globally. It caters to a large and diversified portfolio of B2B customers across industry sectors. The company performs 30 billion square meter of cleaning activities globally.
  1. CBRE: One of the largest FM service providers across the globe with a total workforce of 25,000 EFMs and 13,000+ engineering professionals. It caters to a client base of 25.8 million occupants and tenants in the global commercial real estate market. The company employs 300+ HSSE professionals, 40+ OSHA, and 501 trainers for health and safety as well as environmental management.


To request a sample report, click here

Mitie introduces thermal imaging drone…

The facilities management company, Mitie, has announced the launch of the first thermal imaging drone to be used in the industry – corresponding with the growing popularity of implementing technology in FM operations.

The thermal imaging technology is the next stage of development for Mitie’s pest control drone service, which was announced earlier this year. The drone, named Inspire 1, will enable Mitie to deliver a wide range of services, from pest control to property and waste management. The thermal imaging applications for the Inspire 1 also include:

  • Concealed bird nesting in roof crevices. 
  • Building damage inspections and maintenance, in areas that aren’t readily visible. 
  • Wildlife management – thermal imaging for animal population control. 
  • Safety at landfill sites – the drone can find hot spots that pose a fire risk. 

    Roofing surveillance to detect excess humidity and water cooling on flat roofs. 

  • Thermal mapping – look at any heat leakage over the whole building to identify potential savings via improved insulation.

Regional director for Mitie’s pest control and drone operations, Gareth Davies, said: “The thermal imaging technology enables us to develop the precision of our existing drone fleet. The Inspire 1 will enable us to offer customers and increasingly comprehensive, safe and flexible service and is a great example of Mitie’s technological innovation in the FM sector.”

With the ability to reach 400ft, previously inaccessible places are reachable from the ground and without the need for specialist equipment. The small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) are operated by licensed Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) members, enhancing safety and reducing the cost of surveying at height.

BIFM collaborates with employer groups on apprenticeship standards development…

The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) is working closely with employer groups in a bid to create new standards for apprenticeships in the industry that include both degree apprenticeships at Bachelor’s and Master’s level, as well as supervisor and manager levels.

In theory, the industry body claims new apprenticeship standards will provide companies with the opportunity to employ apprentices at all levels, from senior management to strategic and operations. With the facilities management (FM) supervisor standard already approved, the development of a degree apprenticeship at Level 6 for senior FMs has also received approval, and the draft standard is due to be issued for consultation later this year.

The employment groups working on these standards submitted ‘Expressions of Interest’ to the  Department for Education (DfE) which supports the development of standards for Facilities Manager (Level 4) and Director of Estates (Masters).  The BIFM states that levels have been selected by ‘the industry’ to coincide with the ‘different occupational competencies’ required by FM professionals at various career stages.

The consultation is open for one more day (closes September 9, 2016) and the BIFM is encouraging all industry professionals complete the consultation for the proposed Facilities Manager and Director of Estates standards.  

FM sector peaks in confidence, study suggests…

A market analysis study from Plimsoll Publishing has indicated that confidence in the facilities management sector is continually rising; with 63 per cent of industry companies surveyed reporting an increase in sales in their latest year.

Delving into the status of 377 of the largest facilities management companies in the UK, the majority are delivering growth rates of 11 per cent and many of these are making a healthy profit return. Furthermore, 106 of these companies have been rated as ‘financially strong’, and, on average, each company has seen sales rise by 3.4 per cent.

Read a summary of the report’s findings here

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