We celebrated World FM Day (WFMD) last Wednesday (15 May 2019) with a variety of initiatives, with the aim to raise awareness of our profession. Our outreach included distributing a WFMD marketing pack, which was used by more than 140 organisations, as well as the release of a wave of new and updated guidance that are usually for members only. The day also saw the successful deployment of our pilot Schools Project, which aims to inspire the next generation of workplace and facilities managers.
The Schools Project
Amid concerns about the widening skills gap in our profession, we are aiming to inspire the next generation, working in partnership with education consultancy, Class of your Own.
This World FM Day we held workshops in three schools around the UK, where KS3 pupils (11 to 14 year olds) became facilities managers for the day. Students examined their schools, checking everywhere from food production areas and kitchen staff procedures to waste management. They even looked at their school’s medical facilities, to gain a better understanding of how space affects wellbeing.
Spaces were also assessed for suitability and purpose. Whether a drama hall, music room or outdoor area, pupils gained an understanding of how to be critical and responsive to the built environment. They looked at how to better enhance engagement, happiness and productivity.
Inspiring a generation
Initially, pupils found themselves perplexed and blank-faced when asked what they knew about workplace and facilities management. By the end of the day, however, they were in awe at the multi-faceted role of a facilities professional.
We hope that these workshops and similar initiatives will help children to understand further the profession: from the psychology of building design and wellbeing to the operational level of building management and service provision.
‘There was definitely a change in mindset and perspective on what facilities management is,’ said Mark Whittaker, Consultant for Thomson FM and IWFM North Region Chair. Adding, ‘They seemed to feel a passion and commitment beyond simple understanding. It’s a promising step for the next generation of our profession.’
The next steps
We have further initiatives coming up that will help to address the growing skills gap in our profession. Stay engaged to find how you can champion our profession and help to inspire the next generation.
A special thank you to our ambassadors – Chris Jeffers, Laura Birnbaum and Mark Whittaker – for their participation, knowledge and passion in making these first workshops a success.