Can Facilities Management training lead to promotion?

Published on: 19 Feb 2016


Name: Claire Crayman
Employer: Babcock International
Study centre: FM Tutor
Level attained: ILM Level 3, BIFM Level 4 Diploma and BIFM Level 5

Where and when did you start your working life?
2009 – Assistant administrator to the core team at Babcock Infrastructure providing TFM to the MoD.

What brought you into FM?
I finished sixth form and all I wanted was a full-time office job; I didn’t care what I was doing. I accepted a maternity cover role as the FM assistant administrator supporting the core management team for Babcock Infrastructure for its South-West MoD TFM contract for all soft and hard FM delivery for MoD sites in Bristol, Bath and Taunton through a bundle of self-delivery and outsourced contracts.

What is your current role and what does it involve?
I’m the FM mobilisation & support manager heading the mobilisation of TFM contracts in the Babcock International, internal property delivery team. I am involved in surveying sites and meeting internal customers to establish their requirements. Once I’ve created the proposal and financial budget I implement it by setting up contracts, recruiting and training staff, ensuring compliance with processes and procedures, and managing the handover of building information.

What did you get out of studying for your qualification?
Through my ILM Level 3, BIFM Level 4 and BIFM Level 5 qualifications I gained a lot of skills. I improved my report-writing skills, which supports my proposal writing in my role now. I developed the skills I have learned in finance, project management, risk management etc. The Level 5 course helped me to step up to the next level and into my current senior position by understanding my company’s FM strategy and aligning that with the proposals I am writing for the internal Babcock buildings.

What kind of training do you expect to undergo in the future, and why?
Project management plays a key part within FM and especially my role as mobilisation manager, so my next training step will be to enrol onto a course in this area.

What has the achievement of a BIFM qualification done for your career?
It opened up opportunities for me to progress from an assistant administrator to a building manager and now a senior manager all within six years.

What are your ambitions?
To act as a role model to the next level of FM managers to help them achieve their goals and deliver FM more seamlessly to our customers – to take the strain of managing buildings away from the customer so they can fully commit to their core business.

How have you put your learning into practice?
Every day! Although new FM trends and styles are always emerging, the basics always remain the same. A lot of the assignments are based around an FM’s daily activities and you need to develop the work you do by analysing the data in depth.

Career map:

● Assistant Core Team administrator, Babcock

● Leisure & events administrator

● Soft FM administration lead

● FM mobilisation & support manager



Name: David Sanderson
Employer: Keele University
Study centre: Xenon
Level attained: BIFM Level 6 Extended Diploma

Where and when did you start your working life?
I had a four-year electrical engineering apprenticeship with a contractor working in a variety of sectors from aerospace to health and education. I moved into the company offices and started working on procedures, costing and design. My duties included organising the offices for maintenance, supervising cleaning and events.

What brought you into FM?
After spending some time in Europe moving heavy industrial equipment and bringing it back to the UK, I became involved in more post-construction tasks such as training, setting up offices and support services, and I enjoyed the variety.

What is your current role and what does it involve?
My role is predominantly estates operations and development as part of the leadership team in a large campus, with a huge focus on environmental management. Being new to the role, I am assessing compliance, skills mix, process and procedures, condition, performance and setting a five-year plan to enhance student experience and to develop our offering. The role includes many aspects of estates and facilities including maintenance, security, travel and car parking, postal services, energy and environmental, and estates development.

What did you get out of studying for your qualification?
The qualification gave me the opportunity to do a lot of reflection of how you work, think, and act and it has changed the way I approach tasks now. It has given me a thirst to learn more and understand best practice.

What kind of training do you expect to undergo in the future, and why?
I enjoyed the Level 6 learning, which I based on my experiences and issues in the NHS over the last 10 years and I now aim for a Level 7 (Masters in Applied Facilities Management) qualification.

What has the achievement of a BIFM qualification done for your career?
It immediately had an influence in that I moved from the NHS to the education sector at director level.

What are your career ambitions?
To reach a higher level within the industry, and to enhance the value we as an industry can provide to an organisation.

How have you put your learning into practice?
It has encouraged me to look at things differently, using examples from outside the sector and best practice with a specific focus on our perception as a service, and how we engage with our customers and gauge their feedback and use it to improve our services.

What other future challenges will your studies help you with?
Whatever sector you are in there is an increased focus on customer expectation and their experience when using your facilities whilst continuing to provide best value.



Name: James Murphy
Role: Service leader & FM consultant
Employer: EC Harris Arcadis
Study Centre: Liverpool John Moores University
Level attained: MSc Applied Facilities Management (BIFM Level 7 Diploma)

Where and when did you start your career?
I completed my A-Levels and decided to study plumbing. But it proved difficult to secure an apprenticeship so I pursued a degree in building surveying, where I then came across FM in my final year. I knew this was the ideal pathway for me as it acted as the bridge between people and property.

What did you get out of studying for your qualification?
The MSc in Applied FM at LJMU encompassed the BIFM Level 7 Diploma. I entered the FM market with confidence that I had acquired the latest skills, knowledge and experience.

What has the achievement of a BIFM qualification done for your career?
It allowed me to gain competitive advantage and get recognised by prospective employers. I have also been able to progress at Arcadis with the aid of the BIFM Level 7 qualification and CBIFM membership.

Career map:

● Assistant FM work experience, 2012-2013

● Graduate FM consultant, 2013

● Service delivery manager, 2013-2014

● FM consultant, 2014-2015

● Service leader, 2015



Name: Jane Buckland
Employer: Babcock International
Study centre: FM Tutor
Level attained: BIFM Level 6 Diploma

Where and when did you start your working life?
1994: Office junior for a furniture manufacturer.

What brought you into FM?
I fell into FM by accepting an office manager role on a large MoD PFI contract called Aspire Defence and began managing a helpdesk, cleaning, grounds maintenance and catering contract.

What is your current role?
I am heading my own internal FM property team delivering TFM to internal Babcock properties across the UK supported by a team of SMEs.

What did you get out of studying for your qualification?
The course drills into your business’s FM strategy and identifies trends in the marketplace, competitors and your own company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as your customer’s strategy. The BIFM ensures that FMs learn to research the wider industry in the UK, Europe and internationally.

What kind of training do you expect to undergo in the future, and why?
I’d consider further business development training and a project management course.

What has the achievement of a BIFM qualification done for your career?
My career prospects have improved immensely and I was one of the first learners to qualify in the revised qualification last June.

What are your ambitions?
To become a facilities director.

Career map:

● Office junior

● Accounts assistant

● Office manager

● Head of support services

● Babcock internal property delivery manager



Name: Richard Cotterill
Employer: Parexel International
Study centre: Sheffield Hallam University
Level attained: BIFM Level 7 Diploma in Facilities Management

Where and when did you start your working life?
After leaving school in 1992, I started working at The Albert Hall, Nottingham, in the catering and hospitality industry – a great experience and a rewarding part of my work history that laid the foundations for my career in FM.

What brought you into FM?
Having worked in a casino in the Isle of Man, hotels, conference and banqueting centres in the UK, I pursued an opportunity at the University of Nottingham as a facilities officer. I’d gained a wealth of experience in managing soft services and in this new role in a halls of residence I received a lot of exposure to the property management sector – eventually managing 200 self-catered flats, a bar, a shop and landscaping across a disparate portfolio.

What is your current role and what does it involve?
Senior facilities manager. I’m primarily responsible for Paraxel’s property portfolio in Nottingham, Sheffield and Birmingham, covering all aspects of both hard and soft FM. I write the UK health, safety and environmental policies and manuals and shape the businesses response to emerging UK legislation.

What did you get out of studying for your qualification?
The course developed my executive leadership skills and business acumen in a diverse range of disciplines applied to the FM arena. Having spent two academic years at Sheffield Hallam University with a super cohort of like-minded professionals from a diverse range of businesses – both private and public sector – I was able to develop a much wider appreciation and perspective on solutions to today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.

What kind of training do you expect to undergo in the future, and why?
I intend to complete another year at university to attain a master’s in business administration with a view to developing my research and analytical skills.

What has the achievement of a BIFM qualification done for your career?
This course positioned me to take on far more challenging projects including the most recent initiative to consolidate 15 business units into a single site solution. This involved the transfer of more than 600 employees with associated infrastructure, writing fit-out specifications, dilapidation reviews, developing a communication strategy and steering the core business leadership team on key issues.

What are your ambitions?
Longer term, I would like to challenge myself with the management of a more diverse range of commercial properties both in the UK and overseas.



Name: Stacey Smith
Job title: General manager
Company: Mace Macro

How did you get into the industry?
I had previously been a secretary/PA when I moved to Nelson Bakewell’s FM sector, NB Entrust as team secretary. After a while I took up the role as facilities coordinator, then was offered the opportunity to cover FM for a period of maternity leave. I was then ready for a career in FM so moved to JLL as an assistant FM, based on site at One London Wall. After three years of gathering as much experience as possible, I took an opportunity with Mace Macro to manage the Emirates Air Line. I joined as the FM and was promoted internally to operations manager, then to general manager.

Did you undertake any FM-specific qualifications, or non-related?
No FM-related qualifications, just health and safety (NEBOSH).

What is your biggest achievement in your career to date?
My biggest achievement has got to be mobilising the Emirates Air Line in three months, recruiting over 120 team members, writing 40 bespoke procedures for the cable car, training them and then successfully flying over one million passengers in the first three months – and during London 2012!

What is your top perk at work?
Taking time out to enjoy the spectacular views of London.

What do you enjoy most about working in FM?
The variety and the people.

Any interesting tales to tell? Does any day particularly stand out for you?
Many interesting tales – especially from the Emirates Air Line. A fun moment has got to be chatting to Boris Johnson and Arnold Schwarzenegger as they boarded a cabin after watching basketball at The O2!

What are your next career steps? What are you working towards?
At the moment I am concentrating on doing the best possible job as general manager for the Emirates Air Line. It is a very exciting time for us, with so many opportunities to seek out and implement.

If you had a piece of advice for a young FM starting out in the profession, what would it be?                       
Gain as much experience as possible. I was lucky enough to experience both central support/head office FM and then on-site, hands-on experience. Never turn down an opportunity, even if you are unsure at the time.

FM World Carrers guide 2016

To read more from the 2016 FM World Guide to Career Development please click here.