Open-access content Thursday 25th October 2012
Linda Hausmanis talks about what the new BIFM qualifications can do for the next generation of facilities managers.
29 October 2012
Think of October and the Grosvenor House Hotel in London and you'd be forgiven for thinking about the BIFM Awards.
The event was a fantastic success and an inspirational evening for all facilities professionals.
But another event, held on the morning of the awards ceremony, brought together a group of facilities management, training, education and government experts at Grosvenor House, to lay the foundations for the next generation of FMs - this was the launch of the BIFM higher level apprenticeships.
Facilities management was typically a profession that people fell into, but, as BIFM chief executive Gareth Tancred said at the event, "We are keen to make FM a career of choice rather than a career of chance".
Our industry is ageing and we desperately need to attract talented young people to replace those who leave FM. But how can we create career pathways to encourage young people into our sector? And once we've got them into FM, how can we help to provide them with the skills they need to succeed?
Skills are high up the coalition government's agenda. For the first time, the government has linked the improvement in people's skills to the wider economic recovery and it sees higher-level apprenticeships as part of that plan.
Matthew Hancock MP, parliamentary under-secretary of state for education and business innovation and skills, although unable to attend, supported the event by stating: "We are committed to developing and promoting vocational learning as a viable alternative, as well as making this level the one which most learners and employers aspire to."
The BIFM, together with Asset Skills, Sheffield Hallam University, Building Engineering Services Training (BEST), Leeds College of Building, The Manchester College, The Training and Learning Company and Westminster Kingsway College, has launched higher-level apprenticeships in facilities management at Qualifications and Credit Framework levels 4 and 5.
These apprenticeships, funded through the government's Higher Apprenticeships Fund, mean that there are now apprenticeships from levels 2 to 5, with level 6 under development. Now, someone leaving school at 16 can embark on a career in FM and work towards the equivalent of a degree, while earning money rather than becoming burdened with debt.
And apprenticeships are not just for new entrants, they are also relevant to existing FMs looking to develop their skills.
Apprenticeships are already popular with business. A recent survey found that more than 70 per cent of employers feel that apprenticeships are at least of equal value to a university degree to help people to prepare for and progress in the workplace.
This is a truly exciting opportunity for our sector and, together with the BIFM suite of qualifications from levels 2 to 7, will help us to attract fresh talent straight out of school, ensure that facilities management is seen as a career of choice and help to improve peoples' skills throughout the sector.
Learn more about apprenticeships at www.bifm.org.uk/apprenticeships, contact BIFM at [email protected] or call 0845 058 1355. Alternatively, you can visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk or www.assetskills.org