Brave new world options for the FM sector post Brexit
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01 June 2017
Moreover, the panel felt that FM’s strengths in terms of offering extensive employment opportunities and a strong reputation globally would position it positively with a Government looking for support in challenging times. By helping make a success of Brexit, particularly through its export capabilities and the strong international reputation of the BIFM qualifications, FM could elevate its status in political circles. It would also enhance its appeal as a ‘centre of excellence’ for ambitious and talented individuals.
To succeed in the post-Brexit world, however, the panel recognised that FM has to overcome certain systemic issues in the areas of education, training, low pay and industry image.
A key issue is transitioning the sector away from its low-pay business model towards one built on a skilled, inclusive and well-motivated workforce. More and better education and training plus greater deployment of technology is vital for future success.
Another key challenge is creating a greater awareness of the value of FM to the British economy through the services it delivers and the employment it provides. This would also serve the purpose of helping to attract young recruits to the sector.
The panel expressed concern over the possibility of EU workers being repatriated. The sector is heavily dependent on their continuing presence in the UK, and is unlikely to be able to replace them immediately with indigenous workers. The general feeling was the UK Government understands the reliance of the industry/business/health sectors on overseas workers and will come to a common-sense acknowledgement that they stay. However, the sooner this uncertainty is resolved, the better, and FM can help its cause by making a strong case to Government that advocates ongoing employment rights for these workers.
The panel felt that FM has “a great story to tell” and that everyone in the sector has an obligation to promote it.
There was also a clear sense that this is not the time for FM to wait passively for whatever may happen but rather to seize the moment and show strong leadership. This includes engaging with Government to get key messages across as quickly as possible.
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