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Pleun van Deurssen, chair of IWFM’s Rising FM SIG, discusses confidence while networking.

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08 May 2018 | Pleun van Deurssen

It’s scary when you start your new job, whether it is your first job or a move to another organisation or industry. Sometimes it feels like you are left all by yourself and just have to get on with it. The good news is there are so many of us who feel like this in the industry. We just have to make sure to meet up with each other for help and support.

Meet people who are crazy about FM

I was introduced to network events to meet like-minded people who could help me develop professionally. At my first event I felt isolated and ignored. I was a new face to many people and too shy to mingle. I was only 21 years old and out of my comfort zone. A few more events followed, but I kept leaving straight after the presentation to avoid the networking part of the night.

It’s the difficult bit, a lot of you may think, but it can also be crucial to your success.

I went to my first network event over four years ago and, looking back, I’ve left that shy young person behind. These days, I’m confident about joining in and contributing to conversations.

Good things will come

I’ve noticed a lot of positives for me personally and professionally. I have been introduced to other FM people who I can rely on when I need help with any operational issues.

I have been introduced to recruiters who helped me secure my next job and I’ve been introduced to industry leaders who gave me advice on career progression.

FM was and still is my career of choice and I hope many others will follow. It is, however, up to us to spread the word and be there for our peers when they need us.

Chairing the committee

I joined Rising FMs not long after attending my first event. Not only has it been a pleasure to engage with colleagues, I’ve also reaped the rewards of being a member of the committee.

Now I have been elected as its chair. I have gained significant knowledge and built a strong network around me. These, and other advantages of our professional community, provide support not only for those already in the industry, but for all newcomers too.

The Rising FM SIG wants everyone to feel welcome.

Join the network

To achieve our Rising FM vision, I’d like to help people get into the industry and provide a network they can count on for experience and knowledge. I want to focus on people new to our field, whether they are straight out of college or have chosen to change their career direction towards the FM industry.

We look to attract supervisors, assistants and managers with the help of our industry leaders and support teams such as recruiters, business development professionals, and senior leaders and directors.

We want to focus on continuous professional development events, which are useful for those entering the industry and can provide space for personal development to progress to the next step in their career.

Networking can be daunting, but if we look to each other for support through social events it can feel a lot more accessible to a lot more people. This means there will be a greater diversity of people to learn from, about how they work and how they manage their facilities.

Networking groups should also network with each other, as well as the BIFM professional body, supporting them as they visit schools and careers fairs to promote FM.

All apprentices, graduates and other studying members should be encouraged to start networking, attend our events and get the tools to develop a long and satisfying career in FM. See you at our next event.

Pleun van Deurssen is chair of IWFM’s Rising FM SIG