Open-access content Wednesday 8th May 2013
Mark Whittaker, a business development manager for Integral UK and BIFM North and Lancashire committee member, writes about the many positives of becoming a member of the BIFM.
7 May 2013
So what has being a BIFM member ever done for me? Perhaps the question has overtones of Monty Python's Life of Brian, but the answer is, 'quite a lot really'.
I became a member just over two years ago. There were two main reasons I decided to join: first, I was keen to expand the network of people I knew who were working within the sector and, second, I also wanted to develop my knowledge and understanding of key issues facing the industry.
Getting involved with BIFM seemed
the best way to do this.
Since deciding to join, I started regularly attending a multitude of events organised by the different groups within the north region. These are always well-attended by a cross-section of FM professionals.
The venues themselves have been varied and interesting and we've had unique access to the FM operations, whether it is the new BREEAM 'Outstanding' headquarters of the Co-operative Group, ultra-low temperature freezers at the NHS Blood & Transplant Centre at Speke, risk management strategies at Manchester Airport or meeting the needs of management, players and supporters at a Premiership football club (such as Everton FC) - all have been evidenced at BIFM regional events.
In addition, in June this year, I will be travelling down to London for the ThinkFM 2013 Conference (www.thinkfm.com). I attended my first event last year and it proved a great chance to meet and listen to key people within the industry and absorb a lot of information on best practice and discuss the challenges facing the facilities management sector. The BIFM Scotland Conference is another excellent event and I will be going to Edinburgh again this year.
Being a member of BIFM has also helped me to grow my industry and social media profile. One BIFM Merseyside seminar really encouraged me to get the most out of Twitter (@whitbags) and LinkedIn. In addition, I also now write my own blog (whitbagsinfm.wordpress.com), which has been read over 2,500 times in 66 countries
in the past 12 months.
In addition, through developing my BIFM connections with Liverpool John Moores University, I have been asked to guest lecture to both UK and foreign students several times and be interviewed for their FM dissertations. In November last year, I was invited to be a keynote speaker on 'Innovation within FM' at the Construction Industry Development Board of Malaysia Conference in Kuantan.
The future? Well I hope to continue my involvement in the BIFM north committee, BIFM Lancashire group, and am seriously considering taking a BIFM Level 7 qualification at Liverpool John Moores University. Also June's BIFM North Summer Ball should be a great night.
Finally and crucially, I aim to continue to encourage colleagues, students and FM professionals to become BIFM members and fully exploit what the institute has to offer.
Learn more about BIFM membership at www.bifm.org.uk/joinus