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National Campaign to Attract Youth to Cleaning & FM

19 August 2014 | Updated 01 January 1970

With fears of an ageing workforce and impending skills gap gripping the sector, The Building Futures Group has launched a national campaign with the aim of attracting young people to the cleaning and facilities management sectors.

This drive has the intention of inspiring more people to consider cleaning and facilities management as a long-term career option, showcasing the career progression opportunities and attractive salaries available.

Often referred to as the ‘secret sector’, worth at least £70bn per year to the economy, the campaign serves to highlight the detrimental effect the entire economy could experience without such vital services.

Sarah Bentley, CEO of The Building Futures Group, explains: “Facilities management is a much-overlooked career option. Many people simply don’t understand what it entails. Good facilities managers are absolutely central to successful organisations, running the buildings and services they encompass.”

Ms Bentley added that cleaning has a reputation for being a low paid, low skilled job with few prospects. The ‘Secret Jobs’ campaign wants to dispel this myth and highlight how these booming sectors could be the answer to filling some of the estimated six million job vacancies expected to emerge across the UK in the next 10 years due to skills shortages.*

She said: “The Building Futures Group is passionate about raising awareness of the fruitful career opportunities available in our sector and we are dedicated to reducing the number of people not in employment. That’s why we are working in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions to raise awareness of our industries and the many opportunities they offer.”

The initiative will see The Building Futures Group partner with Youth Employment UK to publish a bespoke careers guide designed for young people by young people which can be downloaded from The Building Futures Group website. Additionally, all 12,000 Job Centre Plus establishments across the UK will receive a special guide for their work coaches. The work coaches guide will highlight how their clients can benefit from careers at every level in facilities management and cleaning.

Steve Davies, Chair of The Building Futures Group, and MD Support Services for 14forty said: “With an ageing management and leadership, the FM industry needs to attract young people into our industry. Our industry offers excellent opportunities to all young people from entry level to graduate. Today’s young people will be tomorrow’s leaders, and FM companies invest in their people to help them develop and reach their potential. Young people can take advantage of these opportunities and have a long and fulfilling career in one of the most diverse and exciting industries in the UK.”

Christine Amyes, Board Director at The Building Futures Group and Executive Director of People at New Charter Group, said: “Creating opportunities for young people to kick start their careers is incredibly important not just for the individuals but to businesses and the economy. There are great career opportunities in the FM sector and we want young people to know about them and be able to access them.”

In addition, The Building Futures Group is also working alongside leading FM and cleaning companies to raise the profile of the opportunities available for today’s youth.

Laura-Jane Rawlings, CEO of Youth Employment UK (YEUK), said: “There are still 800,000 unemployed young people in the UK and YEUK is pleased to see that industries like facilities management and cleaning are actively welcoming young people into their sectors through initiatives such as the Secret Jobs campaign. These are vital to ensure that young people can undertake rewarding work and be recognised for the diverse skills and talents that they bring to today’s agile work place.”

The Young Managers Forum (YMF), an organisation which provides a platform for young facilities management peers to come together, discuss ideas and champion initiatives that will help shape the industry’s future, will be hosting a Twitter Q&A and would like to invite any questions on the topic. Those wanting to get involved can track the progress of the campaign and join the conversation on Twitter using #SecretJobs.

*According to The Department of Work and Pensions.


Case Studies

Andrew Hubert, Chairman of the Young Managers Forum and entrepreneur who set up his own cleaning business, Pareto Facilities Management

At the age of 27, Andrew came across the facilities management industry whilst in his second year of University studying for a Business Management degree. Having completed an 8-week internship with a small facilities service provider during the summer, Andrew found that the industry fascinated him.

After completing University he joined the small provider full time as a graduate trainee. Within three years he had been promoted to Account Manager, then Strategic Account Manager and finally Associate Director which saw him take responsibility for over ten million pounds worth of contracts, over 250 staff and all clients within the business. After two successful years as an Associate Director he left to set-up Pareto FM.


Peter Burnell-Jones, Business Development Manager at Norland Managed Services and member of the YMF

Soon after graduating from Loughborough University with a 2:1 in Construction Engineering Management, Peter joined Taylor Woodrow on a permanent contract. After working on a number of construction projects, in 2004 he embraced an opportunity to work in FM for the same company on contracts in London. It was here that he worked with various clients including MoD and Marks and Spencer.

Peter said: “Facilities Management was a discipline that I thoroughly enjoyed and performed well in. Aged 25 I was promoted to Account Manager of the Highways Agency and had full management and financial responsibility for approximately 40 locations across England and a team of 43 employees. In 2012, I went on to join Norland Managed Services as an Area General Manger for a number of their key IFM contracts in London, including Vertu, NBCUniversal and AllianceBernstein. Recently I’ve moved away from operations and as part of career development, I’m now a Business Development Manager for Norland’s newly formed Facilities Management Division.”


Sara Campbell, ‎Service Delivery Manager at Burberry and member of the YMF

Sara currently works client side at Burberry, one of the best known British luxury brands in the world, managing all soft services for corporate business, delivering high quality and effective operations that fit the calibre and brand of Burberry.

Sara said: “I'm currently studying for my Facilities Management MBA alongside my role which is developing and enriching my FM skill set, helping me to further my career within the sector and at Burberry.”


Antony Law, Operations Director, Mitie Technical Facilities Management and member of the YMF

Antony started his career at Mitie as an apprentice in 2001. He came to Mitie with the first of his technical qualifications following on from 2 years in college. After completing his apprenticeship he quickly moved into a supervisor role in 2005. In the years from 2008 to 2012, Antony moved into various management roles which have complemented his journey and given him transferrable skills. At the age of 29 and from the class of 2001, Antony was the first apprentice to become director and looks to continue his career with Mitie. In 2012, Antony won the Young Manager of The Year Award and continues to work with The Building Futures Group to assist in finding the future leaders of the FM industry.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 19 August 2014


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