'A bit about you' finds out what it's like behind the job for the diverse workplace and facilities managers that make up this profession. Here we meet Dave Candlin, director of estates and It at Telford College.
What do you do?
I am director of estates and IT at Telford College.
What attracted you to FM, and how did you get into the industry?
I fell into it. I took a six-week sickness cover for an administrator on an FM contract, became interested and trained up over the next few years.
How long have you been in your current role?
I've worked for Telford College since March 2019, in various guises.
Do you see yourself as predominantly a task or a people manager?
By necessity, both. You inevitably manage the tasks, and some of the people carrying out the tasks on your behalf.
Would you describe your role as predominantly operational or strategic?
It's a decent mix of both, particularly through covid-19; strategic to remain operational.
How many people are there in your FM/workplace team, and to whom does the FM team ultimately report?
Across site services, cleaning, IT and sports facility hire, approximately 50 staff that report to me, and from me to the executive leadership team.
My top perk at work is…
The diversity. Sitting across so many areas the chances of a slow day are extremely slim. And managing the catering contract –first dibs on new menus.
What has been your biggest career challenge to date?
Remaining operational and being the sole point of contact for health and safety through the pandemic. Keeping a safe environment for 2,500 students and staff and enabling others to deliver high-quality education was a steep, daily learning curve. Other than a few weeks, it's been business as usual as much as possible.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
Greater recognition of its importance. If the cleaners and caretakers don't turn up, no one else can function. We're a taken-for-granted part of any organisation.
Any interesting talks to tell?
Too many! In this industry, you do so many interesting things, you begin to forget the interesting things you've achieved.
If I wasn’t in facilities management, I’d probably be…
Doing something in education. Although, at university I was described as 'most likely to end up on a commune somewhere' – so maybe I'd I've dropped out, and just travelled.
Which FM/workplace ‘myth’ would you most like to put an end to?
That there's a start and end to the work day. Just doesn't happen.
What advice would you give to a young facilities/workplace manager starting out?
Be prepared for a heavy workload, a lot of responsibility, but never a dull moment.
What was the weirdest day you’ve had in the office?
9/11 working in an FM office on a RAF base. Surreal on many levels.
Early bird or night owl?
Both. Up at dawn, still up closer to the day's end than I care to admit.
What FM job in the world would you love more than anything?
Luxury hotel somewhere warm and beautiful.
And where would FM be an absolute nightmare?
At the moment, probably the NHS, and not just because of the obvious. Funding always looks horrible for the level of requirement.
Your life outside FM mostly involves…
I run and cook a lot. Annoy my kids, where I can. And in better times would have been travelling frequently.