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National Careers Week – Making FM Appeal to Young People

National Careers Week – Making FM Appeal to Young People
08 March 2023

For National Careers Week, Michelle Connolly from 300 North shares her advice on how FM companies can make the sector more appealing to young people.

Michelle Connolly is one of the founding Directors of 300 North, a facilities management recruitment specialist. Connolly joined 300 North in 2015 after a 15-year career in software, working across the insurance and financial services sectors. She has since immersed herself in the FM sector, believing there is a great deal of knowledge that can be transferred and applied from other sectors to both the FM & recruitment markets as they evolve. 



Picture: a photograph of Michelle Connolly. Image Credit: 300 North


National Careers Week 2023


National Careers Week focuses on bringing young people into the world of work. It aims to provide children, teens, and young adults in education visibility of a large range of roles across all sectors. The FM sector has invested time and resources into showcasing the sector for this age group and is working to increase the talent pool of young people to help encourage the next generation of professionals into FM.


"Many people see FM as technical, maintenance, or office based, but the reality is that FM jobs can take young people into any sector. FM companies align with schools to show students the breadth of roles across defence, healthcare, museums, commercial buildings and much more in order to spark their imagination for what FM can offer."


Facilities management forms an essential part of any business and provides ample opportunities for people to affect meaningful change in roles within it. Young people often say they are looking for roles that provide purpose and align with their personal values and FM provides a space for this.  

Many people see FM as technical, maintenance, or office based, but the reality is that FM jobs can take young people into any sector. FM companies align with schools to show students the breadth of roles across defence, healthcare, museums, commercial buildings and much more in order to spark their imagination for what FM can offer. This vital work by businesses brings much-needed recognition and understanding to the sector. But this could be increased with a more holistic approach that brings multiple businesses together.


Bringing FM Intro Schools and Colleges


Bringing FM into schools opens the sector up to people from a young age and makes it easier to attract young people early on in their career to the sector – building a sustained talent pool for the future. Uptree, a careers education and work experience platform championing diversity, inclusion and equality for all is set up to help organisations provide this kind of visibility to sectors involved in their programme.

Tamsin Dewhurst, Founder CEO of Uptree said, “At Uptree, we encourage employers to consider the steps they can take to educate young people on their industry and available career routes to drive equality of opportunity and the development of diverse future talent pipelines. We’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that employer content, work experience events and application support sessions can have in raising awareness of employer brands, applications and retention. We’re thrilled to work with businesses that put young people first.”

This is done in a number of ways, including providing application and recruitment process workshops as part of an educational offering. These careers workshops are important for improving students’ confidence to enter the workforce whilst giving visibility to the provider’s company and sector. It also provides a really valuable mentoring and volunteering opportunity for employees, who are able to work with children and inspire them for the next stage of their lives.

Careers days are also popular amongst many schools and companies, where FM businesses are able to go into a setting to engage with students on a particular topic for the day. These days are used to showcase the sector and the varied roles in FM, whilst enticing young people to the sector by showing them real-life applications of the role they are doing, and the wider impact of that work. Setting up a dialogue between organisations and schools benefits both sides. Young people can provide vital insight into the careers advice they feel they need, and the doubts they have about entering the workplace. Following on from this are multi-company target careers fairs with a group of FM service providers and end clients coming together to provide further insight into the sector in colleges and universities.


Early Careers Pipelines in FM


To facilitate young people coming into the sector early, FM companies offer structured early careers pipelines. These distinct career paths aim to provide on the job training and development to young people with the understanding that they will likely not have all of the necessary technical skills needed for the role. Schemes like this, and particularly ones that span a whole business, encourage young people to continue their development, help them settle into the corporate space, and allow them to network and meet their peers in different roles and departments. This kind of investment in training and upskilling always has a net benefit for the company, with employees becoming more engaged and feeling closer to the organisation.

For FM, sustainability continues to be a key area where the interests of young people and the opportunities FM provides overlap. FM has projects in a great many areas that focus on sustainability, from procurement to consultancy, from carbon reduction strategies to building net-zero homes, there are a wealth of careers available to young people where they can make a clear difference. The government has proposed helping to grow future talent pipelines through “aligning apprenticeships to net-zero objectives”, “T-Levels to support young people into green careers”, and increased focus on STEM in education.

FM businesses have long focused on how they can invite young people into the sector. The most important thing any business can do to solve this problem is to open a dialogue with young people, students and early careers professionals to understand what they feel their needs are to begin a targeted approach. It is vital to focus on what they want and use their advice to provide a great service to the next group of young people entering work. FM businesses will also benefit substantially from using school careers days. Engaging children with the breadth of FM, from behind-the-scenes looks at buildings to the latest in BIM to cutting-edge sustainability solutions will help encourage them into this diverse and dynamic sector.

Picture: a photograph showing four people who are sitting down and covering their faces with paper cut out in speech bubble shapes. A banner with the words "National Careers Week 2023" is above them. Image Credit: 300 North

Article written by Michelle Connolly | Published 08 March 2023


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