2 November 2011
I don't know about you, but I seem to be at that stage in life where I know a lot of people with children either just leaving school or just leaving university.
I met a couple the other day and their story was almost a carbon copy of so many I've heard recently: they were worried - really worried.
After really pushing their boy to work hard and put that extra bit of effort in to get the best grade possible in his exams, he'd done really well. But even with all that effort, he just can't find a job. A couple of his mates had got placements as interns via their parents, but he was being left behind as they had no such contacts. Now he's questioning his parents' wisdom and ability and getting increasingly lethargic and disengaged. It sounded so frustrating and so painful.
I then heard the news - 991,000 young people aged 16-24 unemployed. I thought of my friends and tried to imagine nearly a million homes filled with simmering resentment, frustration and worry. So what to do? One way, of course, is to contract with suppliers who provide training and apprenticeships. But I think the FM sector could go further than that.
We know that there is constant time pressure to cover the basics, let alone all the new issues that keep coming our way. We also know that a well run FM team connects with so many other business disciplines, such as HR, accounting, environment, engineering, IT and procurement, and we know that FM is a great way to meet people in other parts of the business (if only to receive yet another complaint about the aircon!).
In my experience in training and employing young people, I've found that they respond well to challenge. I also know that the majority are not sure what they actually want to do and don't understand what most jobs entail. Take these factors together and I think FM companies and even in-house FMs could develop their own training or intern programme that could really make a difference.
Of course there'll be barriers, but FMs overcome barriers every day. And just think, for every young person you can help you relieve two parents from worry - three for the price of one. How many times can you say that?
FM World's Guide to Careers in Facilities Management is out now
The 2012 edition of this guide, aimed at students and job switchers, has just been published.
Colin Crooks is director of London Reuse Limited (LRL) - the operating company backed by its parent charity London Community Resource Network.
Other news for Wednesday, 2 November 2011:
FM mega-mergers still a good bet
Poor deal for UK energy buyers
Willmott Dixon delivers 'Outstanding' hospital
Consultation opens for music events guide
FM blog: Overcome the barriers to give something back