3 March 2014
Apprentices who have since gone on to succeed in their chosen career are usually the best placed to articulate the value of the apprenticeship path, whatever the industry.
In facilities management, with its many routes into the profession, the experience of those who have since gone on to assume senior positions is even more valuable.
Today, those completely new to the FM industry can choose to start with an apprenticeship at level 2 and progress to a foundation degree, while learners with some previous FM experience looking to progress into senior management could choose the apprenticeship route that combines the BIFM qualifications at levels 4 and 5. But this is a relatively new route into FM-related apprenticeships.
Every day this week, we will speak to a senior facilities manager about their experiences.
Name: Andrew Redmond
Job title: Director of Facilities, Academies Enterprise Trust
1. How did you become an apprentice?
My father insisted that I "train" when I left school. I applied for and was offered an apprenticeship with a London-based mechanical engineering company. It was an old-fashioned indentured apprenticeship overseen by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). I remember my father having to agree, on oath, to house and shod me for the duration of the apprenticeship, which was from age 16 to 21. I attended Tottenham College of Technology on block release, where I thoroughly enjoyed my time as an apprentice. It's held me in good stead for the rest of my career..
2. What was your experience as an apprentice like?
I had a great experience. It's an excellent way of getting young people into an industry. My employer had the confidence to allow me take on responsibility at a young age; it was seen as part of the training and I never said no. I learnt a massive amount from the people I worked with and enjoyed the challenges they set. This style of learning really suited me, and still does.
3. Looking back, what advantages do you think starting as an apprentice gave you?
A chance to learn everything about the area I worked in. I was given a very broad education that included how to run jobs and manage people. The apprenticeship was very structured, I knew the skills I would gain on the way and the qualifications what I would end up. My apprenticeship gave me a great understanding of buildings and set me on a career path that I am still enjoying today.
4. Do you think apprentices starting today will benefit from the same circumstances?
Without a doubt. I would recommend that young people train as much as possible, keep pushing the levels of training until you are confident and comfortable with your skills and knowledge. Once your apprenticeship is finished, find a new course to undertake, one that will challenge you and enhance the skills you have learnt.
5. What kind of people would benefit from an apprenticeship in FM?
I would recommend apprenticeships to all young people. It can be a great way of learning on the job, you have the ability to change direction and focus on areas that you enjoy. For those young people who do not want to go to university or for those who are looking to go straight in to work, apprenticeships suit all.