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Pathway to Professionalism - Launched

03 October 2014 | Updated 01 January 1970

Last week the he Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Building Futures Group (BFG) officially launched a new initiative to open up a career path in the facilities management sector at RICS' HQ in London.

Entitled ‘Pathway to Professionalism’, it was Sponsored by Barclays and explored career progression opportunities for people working in FM and looked to encourage entrants to the sector from a wider range of backgrounds.

Johnny Dunford Global Commercial Property Director for RICS introduced proceedings and discussed performance management and recognition for the individual and the profession.

From sponsors, Barclays, Imogen Scott talked about focussing on people development. Imogen said that for the first time in history, it was possible to have five generations in work at the same time - those born pre-1944; 1946-1960; 1961-1981; 1981-1995; and the generation X, post-1995. Imogen also commented what she referred to as the 'new psychological contract' where we work 'with' not 'for', a job is for now and thus prople have a portfolio career - and within that is a great need for personal development and qualifications. As an employer it is important to talk and understand an individual's motivations...and to recognise generational differences.


Sarah Bentley, CEO The Building Futures Group gave an extensive closing speech to mark one of the most significant developments in the Facilities Management Sector. It is reproduced here verbatim by kind permission.

I am so pleased to be a part of this amazing collaboration between RICS and The Building Futures Group and thank you again to Barclays and RICS for their generosity in providing such excellent refreshments and a beautiful venue for us to meet here this evening.

As CEO of The Building Futures Group I am also very proud to be speaking here tonight to help mark the beginning of one of the most significant developments in the Facilities Management Sector. 

We know that those who excel in Facilities Management enter the industry via many different routes. Some are graduates; others started as apprentices or started in entry level jobs and worked their way up. As a result there is no one size fits all route to professional chartered status. Our collaboration with RICS seeks to change this and enables those who do not have a degree to attain RICS chartered status.

By working together we can make a huge difference for the benefit of the FM Sector, and as a new organisation The Building Futures Group has ambitious aims, including raising awareness of the Facilities Management Sector, which we have started in earnest with our national campaign Secret jobs and we will continue to promote the industry and its benefits to everyone in the UK.

A further aim is to raise standards in the industry. We do this through our training and education arm Asset Skills, through which we provide industry designed courses for those in the FM and related sectors. Our education offering supports those at every level, from entry level induction courses to an Facilities Management MBA.

The collaboration between RICS and The Building Futures Group represents a key stage in the continuing professionalization of the Facilities Management Industry.  For too long Facilities Management has been an invisible industry, despite providing the vital infrastructure for the UK to thrive and prosper in a global economy, yet largely unrecognised and at a times unappreciated for its true value.

By working together RICS and The Building Futures Group bring together the perfect fusion of professional chartered status and vocational expertise.

Today we have announced an alternative route to chartered status for those in Facilities Management. Our collaboration offers recognition for the excellent work managers do. Furthermore, RICS chartered status formalises the substantial kudos and credibility these FM managers deliver and will enable chartered managers to join a global network further enhancing the UK FM industry’s reputation across the world.

The benefits of our collaboration are extensive and will help our industry with a critical issue in the sector - that of an ageing FM leadership.  Professional accreditation will also appeal to the FM leaders of tomorrow, RICS accreditation in conjunction with other schemes such as the FM Young Managers Forum, and our planned work with partners such as the National Careers Service, will help to attract some of the brightest talent available and retain the brightest and best managers who deliver outstanding results every single day.
As a new organisation The Building Futures Group was born out of co-operation and collaboration. Through the merger of Asset Skills, the CSSA and the Facilities Management Association The Building Futures Group has a rich legacy of training, education development and innovation.  As a Trade Association we are able to work on behalf of our members to develop productive collaborative partnerships for their collective benefit.

 It is apt then that we can build on our foundation of three  organisations’ excellence to work in collaboration with RICS to develop the Competency Framework, and enable a route to chartered status for talented FM managers across the UK.

We are currently developing a range of initiatives, and have many more planned for the future to fulfil our strategic commitment to these ambitious aims. We will continue to work hard to raise awareness of the FM sector and the essential services that our members deliver making sure it is appreciated by government, end users and public alike.

But we can only do this with the support of those who share our aims and values. It is for this reason that we seek to collaborate with other organisations to ensure that together we are truly stronger.

That’s why it is so important that we develop new ways of working, and we pride ourselves on our partnership work, having a range of extensive national and international partners. However, I know that this collaboration to enable FM Managers an alternative vocational route to RICS chartered status, offers the industry so much, and on so many levels.

Our collaboration, ensures that we bring together a marriage of chartered status, professional kudos and vocational expertise. We feel this initiative is truly ground breaking, and marks the way forward in an ever changing economic and professional landscape.

As such there has never been a better time to launch this initiative. Especially as we live and work in an uncertain economic climate - despite positive growth in the UK economy and falling unemployment we see that UK productivity is not rising.

Yet we know that good facilities, and the management of them, has a powerful part to play in the UK’s productivity. But all too often FM is seen by end users as a commodity, or worse a necessary evil. This leads to a lack of investment in Facilities and lower profit margins for FM companies. This race to the bottom has to stop, and the industry needs to ensure that clients are able to see the value to investing in FM Services.

We shall continue to support our members to highlight these issues and through our collaboration with RICS we have a powerful new opportunity to help reverse this situation.

Chartered status confers an additional benefit to FM managers and FM companies – FM clients will find it hard to ignore the advice from chartered members of RICS, providing advice and consultancy on the multitude of benefits well -resourced FM services provide.

The UK has one of the most developed, if not the most established FM sectors in world and as such it is in prime position to provide excellence across the globe. Such opportunities rely on understanding local cultures, business practices and expectations, whilst still offering the very highest standards in service provision. Through our collaboration FM Managers will have a new route to gain chartered status, and be a part of RICS global network, enabling them to learn and provide best practice at the very highest professional standards .

Thank you. The partnership will see The Building Futures Group’s Strategic Manager, Senior Manager and Manager qualifications offer entry to RICS’ Associate qualification (AssocRICS), which was developed as an opportunity for people without a degree to benefit from a professional qualification that is recognised around the world.

The event will form part of a series of future tie-ups between RICS and The Building Futures Group, including training, conferences and guidance on FM best-practice.


Comments from last week's announcement

Johnny Dunford, Global Commercial Property Director for RICS, said: “RICS offers a home for entrants to the FM sector who aspire to climb the career ladder. Our professional standards call for FM to be given a more strategic role in business management. Through our partnership with The Building Futures Group we are offering an opportunity for people to transition their career path from operational into strategic FM.”

Steve Davies, FRICS, Chair of The Building Futures group added:  “As a fellow of RICS, I know first-hand the value of chartered status as an individual and its importance those operating in the facilities management Industry. The collaboration between RICS and The Building Futures Group marks an important event in the development. The opportunity for those in FM to become chartered professionals through a vocational pathway will increase client confidence and help the UK FM industry to be recognised at all levels across the globe.”

Richard Sykes, CEO of ISS commented: “Facilities management provides essential services across the UK. Behind every FM business is a talented workforce enabling Britain’s industry to retain its competitive edge in a global market. The collaboration between RICS and The Building Futures Group should enable professionals working in our sector to receive chartered status through industry led training and development opportunities. This initiative will benefit individuals, FM organisations and customers, as the industry seeks to raise standards to the highest level.”


For further information on the opportunities offered by RICS to professionals in the FM industry, visit

Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 03 October 2014


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