Addressing the skills gap in FM through training and development
22 August 2018
DTL's CEO, Chris Wood, responds to an article in the June 2018 issue of FM Journal regarding the skills gap in the Facilities Management industry:
The FM Clinic feature ‘Addressing the skills gap in FM through training and development’ (FM Journal, June 2018) highlights two of the biggest issues contributing to the problem.
Firstly, the FM industry has under invested in learning and development, perhaps because of a blinkered focus on the bottom line, as one of your contributors suggests. As training specialists in FM, construction and the utilities, we see that under investment fuelling spiralling wages as firms compete for talent. So rather than reducing costs, failing to invest in learning and development is adding to the wage bill.
Plainly, FM businesses should invest in growing their own talent, as another of your contributors states. So why don’t they? This brings us to the second big issue. Navigating the training landscape can be confusing because of the wide range of course options and qualifications out there.
We see this in the way organisations have reacted to the apprenticeship levy. A year on from its launch, many are still struggling to get to grips with it. As a result, they are forced to pay the levy to the Treasury without reclaiming it to fund training. So this too is adding to costs.
One in four workers feel they aren’t given the chance to develop their skills
Something must change, as the evidence of a fundamental problem is stacking up. You point out that the BIFM’s business confidence survey shows a quarter of firms think skills shortages could threaten their success, yet a CIPD report reveals one in four workers feel they aren’t given the chance to develop their skills.
What should FM firms do?
Of course, they should invest in learning and development and begin growing their own rather than relying on poaching talent from competitors or expensive recruitment exercises. However, it is not enough to simply throw money at a problem.
If there is not already a learning and development programme in place, chances are that investment will be misspent, especially given the confusion that many organisations have about the training landscape.
I would recommend getting expert help. A good training organisation that knows its way around your industry will advise on everything from entry level apprenticeships through to management training, and deliver the programmes for you.
As the training landscape continues to change, we are constantly adapting our business to help FM organisations get the best return on their learning, development and compliance budgets.
New technology is helping with this. Our learning portal allows managers and candidates to deal with the training process online while, out in the field, video is replacing traditional paper portfolios as evidence of candidates developing their skills.