The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

ThisWeekinFM Spotlight Interview - Combined Technical Solutions

27 August 2019 | Updated 28 August 2019

Combined Technical Solutions or CTS as the company is better known, ­delivers complete mechanical and electrical building services.

The company's relatively recently appointed MD is Bryan McLaggan. He stands by the CTS commitment to using highly qualified engineers and effective technology to deliver the best service for clients in maintenance and project management.

However, McLaggan can see a huge challenge on the horizon - the skills shortage. ThisWeekinFM asked him how he personally attempts to tackle the problem; how CTS works to make changes; and how the industry must face up to the problem or suffer the consequences.

Watch the frank and illuminating interview below.


Gender balance

McLaggan also speaks eloquently on the subject of gender balance in the FM engineering world. He recognises that this is still a male dominated arena - but that is not an excuse simply to accept the status quo. Instead, McLaggan is overseeing a three stage transition for CTS. Firstly, employing women who have management and supervisory skills who can get the best out of male engineers (irrespective of gender) but who don't necessarily have an engineering background themselves. Second point of call is to get more women into engineering roles in the company either by actively seeking skilled female engineers or by training their own. And this is where the third element comes in - making engineering attractive to women at all levels of the apprenticeship route - not just at the graduate apprenticeship grades.



Lots of people in the FM sector are talking about IoT, sensors and smart buildings. McLaggan has it nailed - he knows where CTS are going with tech, what needs to be done to get financial returns on investment and then extracting even more value in terms of building efficiencies and resource utilisation.

Make sure you watch our Spotlight Interview above.


Tackling The Engineering Skills Shortage

Earlier this year, CTS published a research paper on the UK’s engineering skills shortage. Entitled ‘Tackling the engineering skills shortage’, the report examines the nation’s problem with producing, procuring and sustaining a steady supply of engineering talent.

To read the paper - Click Here



The first chapter examines current and future demand within the UK engineering sector by looking at how today’s skills will evolve over time with emerging technologies and changes to the global economy.

In the second chapter the report, focuses on the roles and responsibilities of both government and the UK’s private sector and their capacity to tackle the problem.

Finally, having analysed the complexity of the skills gap, the CTS report looks at how the problem can be met with realistic solutions in both the short and long term. This practical strategy is drafted with the aim of mitigating immediate pressures while also proposing how to bridge the gap over a longer period of time. It is structured so that all parties can work collaboratively to finally conquer this problem once and for all.


The problem highlighted

According to the report, while the UK’s population has grown substantially, the labour market in the engineering sector has worsened. Thus there is a skills gap between what employers want and what is being offered by workers seeking employment. There aren't enough engineers and some of those with engineering knowledge need more training to bring them up to standard.

Engineering is understood to generate a further £1.45 of Gross Value Added (GVA) for every £1 GVA created directly within its industries, with every additional person employed through engineering activity projected to create 1.74 jobs at some point down the supply chain. Findings by the Centre for Economics and Business Research concluded that in 2015, the sector contributed some 25 per cent to the UK’s entire GDP, amounting to £420.5 billion. In short, the engineering skills problem is too important to ignore.


Key facts and figures (source: Engineering UK)

  • The UK’s engineering sector employs 5.7 million people, equating to 19 per cent of its entire workforce.

  • 27 per cent of registered enterprises in the UK are found in the engineering sector.

  • Engineering generates 23 per cent of the UK’s total turnover. That’s £1.23 trillion.


The task at hand

The numbers surrounding the challenge are sobering to say the least. Recent studies have shown that the UK would need – at the very minimum – to gain 186,000 skilled workers every year until 2024 to gain parity with demand.  To put that figure in context, it equates to 0.57 per cent of the entire UK workforce moving into an engineering role every year for the next six years.

But where will these workers come from? Many recruiters admit to having difficulties finding the right candidates to fill engineering roles. Job site CV-Library recently reported that almost half of recruiters (49.9 per cent) think that engineering is the toughest sector in which to place candidates. The problem is so severe, in fact, that recruitment websites are now placing engineering in its own category by launching dedicated portals to help  employers to match with the right applicants.



Having analysed the complexity of the skills gap, while also looking at the obligations of all invested bodies, the CTS paper looks at how these problems can be met with realistic solutions in both the short and long term. This practical strategy is drafted with the aim of mitigating immediate pressures while also proposing how to bridge the gap over a longer period of time. It is structured so that all parties can work collaboratively to finally conquer this problem once and for all.

This is a 20-page, comprehensive document with lots of answers and a lot of questions - it is well worth a read.

To do so - Click Here


Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 27 August 2019


Related Articles

ThisWeekinFM Spotlight Interview - Ezitracker

Ezitracker offers a fast to deploy multi-device platform for managing workforces in any given industry. The company has the backing of the global HAS Technology Group...

 Read Full Article
Lack of Training Hurts Engineering Relationships

Just 39% of professionals working within the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) sector believe they have the opportunity to develop...

 Read Full Article
ThisWeekinFM Spotlight Interview - Q3 Services

The principals at Q3 Services - a boutique British FM company founded in 2018 - claim they are changing the way clients benefit from outsourced services. The first...

 Read Full Article
Redefining the FM Engineering Skills Gap

Conrad Dean and Mike Bentman from CBRE consider the skills challenge that the FM industry is facing and explore how it can attract talent from diverse backgrounds,...

 Read Full Article
Spotlight Interview – Joanna Harris | Sodexo

Joanna Harris is a Senior Programme Manager and Hard FM Ambassador at Sodexo and is well known for her voluntary work and advocacy for business-focused maintenance....

 Read Full Article
Spotlight Interview – David Stevens | CIBSE Facilities Management Group

David Stevens is the Vice Chair of the CIBSE Facilities Management Group, and Director of Estates, Facilities & Capital Development at East London NHS Foundation...

 Read Full Article
Transgender Woman Engineer Suffers Discrimination at Jaguar Land Rover

A transgender woman has successfully brought claims against Jaguar Land Rover, saying she had suffered abuse and a lack of support whilst working as an engineer for the...

 Read Full Article
New Requirements for Fire, Emergency and Security Occupations 

The Electrotechnical Certification Scheme has issued a reminder to ECS cardholders that from 1 July 2021, anybody renewing an ECS Fire Detection & Alarm Systems...

 Read Full Article
MGS Enrols First Automatic Door Engineer Apprentices

MGS has appointed two apprentices through the new Apprenticeship Standard “Powered Pedestrian Door Installer and Servicer.”  MGS, a UK-based aluminium...

 Read Full Article
Sodexo Launches Apprenticeship Programme for Future Engineers

Sodexo has launched a technical apprenticeship programme to attract new engineering talent and develop a pool of skilled engineers and future managers. The first...

 Read Full Article