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Progressing Your Facilities Management Career Through Training

Progressing Your Facilities Management Career Through Training
12 May 2020

Facilities and workplace management remains a dynamic job sector, spanning a variety of disciplines and requiring a broad range of knowledge in many areas. 

We spoke to Peter Forshaw, Managing Director of specialist recruiter Maxwell Stephens to answer a few questions on how to get into this exciting industry, and how training can help you progress once you’re there.


Getting started in workplace and facilities management


Anecdotally, for many FM professionals, their path into the industry has been gradual, with the phrase “I just fell into it” a common declaration. 

The team at Maxwell Stephens agree that the facilities management industry encompasses a wide spectrum. “We are always surprised at the sheer variety of professional backgrounds within the industry.” says Forshaw.

“Many individuals tend to move into FM from related fields, however that’s not to say there aren’t more direct routes into the industry.”

Forshaw sees academic routes into the industry as making access to the industry more clear:

“The expansion of professional qualifications seems to have carved out a much clearer route into a much more recognised career path; with a variety of options including dedicated FM degree qualifications, apprenticeship schemes and graduate programmes.”


“Practical, ‘hands-on’ knowledge and experience is vital for FM professionals, particularly in the early stages of their career.”

– Peter Forshaw

Managing Director, Maxwell Stephens 


Although there has been an increase in formal academic routes into the industry, Forshaw recommends that one of the most effective paths to develop a career within FM remains working from the ground up.

“Practical, ‘hands-on’ knowledge and experience is vital for FM professionals, particularly in the early stages of their career.

“Entering a lower level position such as a Facilities Assistant will get your foot on the career ladder, and through continuous professional and personal development, you will soon find the opportunities you need to climb higher.”


Peter Maxwell Stephens

Picture: Peter Forshaw


Training to move into middle management


More so than in the early stages of an FM career, higher-level academic qualifications may come into play as professionals look to move into more senior roles. 

Forshaw continues:

“With many of the middle and senior management positions we recruit, degree levels qualifications are becoming increasingly in demand. In many instances, however, it appears that this degree level requirement is more to demonstrate the capability to achieve this level of qualification, as opposed to gaining superior knowledge in a specific subject.”

This suggests that personal and professional attributes gained through academic training are seen as transferable and useful in more senior positions. However, Forshaw feels that there are many facets to FM that simply cannot be taught:

“Persuading stakeholders, dealing with tenant disputes, diplomatic problem solving, adaptability - these are not things that can be revised from a textbook.”


What training courses are recommended?


Maxwell Stephens recently carried out an extensive salary survey within the FM industry, and one of the many trends highlighted was the vast range of qualifications that professionals hold. 

According to the survey results, there are a number of qualifications and courses which are particularly prominent within the industry:

“Health and Safety qualifications such as IOSH and NEBOSH accredited courses have become increasingly sought after for many roles, and in a large proportion of cases, they are almost a prerequisite.

“IWFM courses also remain very popular within the industry for FM professionals at all stages of their career with almost 30% of respondents holding an IWFM Level 3 or higher qualification. These provide many individuals the continuous upskilling required to advance their careers irrespective of their level of seniority.”

Peter Forshaw is offering a free 30 Minute recruitment-related consultation to anyone in the FM industry. You can find out more here.

Picture: People gathered outside a large, reflective building 

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 12 May 2020


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