Valerie Everitt explains how skills development will increasingly becoming a priority as a new government heralds change.
3 June 2010
May 2010 saw the start of a new political landscape in the UK, with pundits of every persuasion jostling to predict the consequences of the first coalition government to run the country in over 60 years. It’s a moment for reflection as we wait to see what changes there will be in key policy areas and initiatives and how these changes will impact on organisations and individuals as they develop business strategy and set professional objectives.
Whatever emerges, skills development is likely to remain high on the agenda for both groups. In the race for success rather than survival, driving up business performance and innovation will be crucial. According to the latest Sector Skills Assessment for the Facilities Management Industry, research conducted into the skills needs of facilities managers revealed that approximately half of the companies surveyed reported skills gaps among their managers. The most frequently cited were people management, leadership and project management skills. Other areas included knowledge of outsourcing strategies, legislation and regulation, enhanced IT capability and commercial/financial awareness. The range of knowledge and skills needed by the average FM will come as no surprise to those juggling the complex demands of a typical FM role.
Organisations understand too that competitive strategies require a new perspective on management leadership and employee skills. As part of its research, Asset Skills also grouped key industry drivers and skills implications under the headings of a Pestle analysis – political and legislative, economic, social, technological and environmental. In this model, development of a highly flexible, multi-tasking workforce means that staff will be better equipped to meet the shifting demands of customers and also meet society’s requirements for enhanced professionalism. The good news for employers and individuals is that the options for development are varied. Many companies have excellent in-house programmes, linking training needs with business objectives. Professional associations, including the BIFM, offer a wealth of regional and national CPD events across a wide range of facilities and generic management topics. There is also an online framework structured around the BIFM competences to record and reflect on CPD activities.
In terms of formal academic or vocational qualifications, the move towards a blended or distance learning approach means managers need less time away from the workplace. This allows staff to integrate learning with day- to- day delivery of their role and add value to their organisation throughout the learning process. In today’s changing and demanding economic environment, keeping skills updated can only be a good thing for the individual and a real way to help ensure organisational success.