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22 March 2019
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Caxton House, the DWP's HQ © N Chadwick

6 July 2018 | Martin Read 

The partnership between BIFM and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), which was set up in February to boost skills and develop routes into the facilities management profession, had its first exploratory round table event on Tuesday (3 July).


With the ambition of making FM a career of choice, a group of representatives from the DWP, BIFM and FM service providers met to discuss the various ways in which all could work together to increase awareness of FM as a profession. Potential content, campaigns and target audiences, including DWP Jobcentre Plus coaches and schools, were all debated. 


Following a presentation from BIFM policy adviser Sofie Hooper, Sandra Thompson, senior employer relationship manager at DWP, explained how to approach target groups with messages about advantages of a career in the FM sector and how organisations could deploy sector-based academies for specific focused campaigns.


One particular target group comprises unemployed jobseekers aged in their 50s and older. With one in three workers set to be aged over 50 by 2022 – up from one in four in 2010 – Thompson highlighted how a significant audience of over-50s who would be ideally suited to roles in FM.


Later, Hooper explained how the institute has commissioned work on how standard industrial (SIC) and standard occupational (SOC) classification codes could be better structured to allow BIFM and others to track trends in the labour market, respond to regional and sector variations and more accurately calculate the FM sector’s economic value. BIFM will be consulting with the Office of National Statistics over the issue.


DWP representatives also highlighted how an increasing number of people were likely to receive Universal Credit while in work, and how career services and jobcentres could better advise clients about work in the FM sector. Participants also discussed the need to promote apprenticeships to older people.


The round table, a precursor to what is hoped to be a regular group event, ended with an agreement to coordinate activity around an initial set of objectives to be determined over the next two weeks.