MD says businesses need to act now to close skills gap

MD says businesses nned to act now to close skills gap

The MD of a Bristol-based facilities management firm has called for the industry to start looking for the facilities managers of the future.

Brady George, Managing Director of Almeda, says more needs to be done to identify and nurture talent coming through the sector in order to close the widening skills gap.

His comments echo the concerns of the British Institute of Facilities Management, who have launched a Leaders’ Forum – set to take place in London on 24th February – where businesses will meet to discuss the skills shortage affecting the facilities management sector.

“There is a massive shortage of technical facilities managers and this is something that has affected Almeda,” says Brady. “One problem is lack of exposure to relevant experience. Managers go through BIFM training but they also need to learn on the job.

People that grow alongside the company

“We hire people based on aptitude and character, and how this aligns with Almeda, not the skills set. Our employees then undergo internal training, something we push really hard, to learn the technical skills needed. This gives us a higher calibre of candidates and helps reduce the skills gap.”

Almeda has implemented a £50,000 training budget to deliver world class training through Cranfield University’s Management Development Centre for senior members of staff.

Last year, the firm launched a graduate scheme and are now keen to launch a similar scheme with apprenticeships in the near future.

Brady says more businesses need to develop in-house training plans, to help solve the skills crisis.

He comments: “Many companies who don’t have the resources to train in-house will overlook candidates with potential in favour of top tier facilities managers, creating a skills divide. This is also driving up the average salary, making it harder for SMEs to compete with bigger firms in the industry.

“Funding would be a good incentive but, ultimately, it is down to the business themselves to create training opportunities, and this needs to start from the bottom-up. We need a 360 view on the future landscape of facilities management so we can start developing the technical facilities managers needed for this now.”