Open-access content Monday 24th January 2011
Gaining vocational and work-related qualifications will be a vital tool in getting the next step on the career ladder, says Valerie Everitt
27 January 2011
With 2011 likely to be another challenging year for the UK economy, many facilities managers across the public and private sectors will, like their counterparts in other industries, be taking a long hard look at the year ahead. How will they and their organisations fare? What can they do to build on achievements and keep a competitive edge in a crowded job market?
Some will already have concluded that gaining vocational and work-related qualifications will be a vital tool in getting the next step on the career ladder. And with the development of the new Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), the good news is that qualifications are now more accessible and also more relevant to learner and employer needs. Assessments can be flexible, practical and based on real life business projects, removing the need for formal examinations or revising to a set timetable.
Increasingly, when choosing which qualifications to take, managers and their employing organisations also look for national recognition and transparency. It’s important to know that working towards a qualification will bring a real return on investment and employers need to understand what achieving a certain level means in relation to an expected job role.
Looking more widely than national boundaries, a new development will also reassure many managers thinking about widening their horizons and working internationally. The QCF has now been referenced against the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). The EQF links European countries’ qualifications systems to each other and makes it easier to cross reference qualifications between countries. Acting as a “translation device”, it aims to help the development of a mobile and flexible European workforce, at the same time supporting lifelong learning. It will also help workers to explain their competence to employers in different countries.
As an awarding organisation for QCF qualifications in facilities management, the BIFM has recently contributed to a significant consultation exercise. This will agree how best to adopt measures which mean that by 2012 all new qualification certificates issued by competent authorities will contain a clear reference to the appropriate EQF level. It’s a step forward which should really help organisations interpret the qualifications of applicants and reduce the barriers for individuals wanting to progress their careers outside the UK. And it’s an ambitious project that the BIFM can only be involved in due to its status as an Ofqual regulated awarding organisation with FM qualifications accredited within the national framework.
For more information about the cross referencing of qualifications in the EQF, visit bifm.org.uk, then click career development, FM qualifications.