The facilities management industry has faced a skills gap for many years. At the heart of that challenge is the misperception that apprenticeships are about oily rags and no prospects – which couldn't be further from the truth.
We welcome the government's announcement on encouraging over 50s to take up “returnerships”. This demographic offers an enormous amount of experience. We have been engaging with this group in our recruitment efforts for some time and seen fantastic results. Working with clients such as Heathrow Airport, the Bullring and TfL, as well as some of the country's biggest airlines, it's clear that returning to work for the over 50s can be an exciting prospect.
The details of the scheme are yet to be unveiled, of course, and it is uncertain what areas will be prioritised. Regardless, this should be a call to action for the facilities management industry to look at how who we are targeting in our recruitment strategies and ensure apprenticeships appeal to those looking for something new.
Returning to work is an opportunity to try new things, perhaps applying experience from a different sector to something fresh. This can only be an opportunity for our industry, which has so much to offer across so many sectors and has the ability to give flexibility on working hours. We know that a diverse workforce provides the best combination of skills and knowledge while reflecting the world around us.
Investing in our talent pipeline is something ABM has focused on for many years with the creation of our own schools education programme (Junior Engineering Engagement Programme). Likewise, we will be embracing returnerships as we believe, alongside young people coming into the workforce, those coming back play a vital role in our mission to fill the skills gap in our industry."
John McPherson, managing director at ABM