Achievement of a qualification not only demonstrates your skills, knowledge and competence, but it is also a key factor in building self-esteem and confidence, as well as advancing your career prospects. While it is widely reported that the economy is improving, this brings with it challenges for employers. Companies are looking for staff who will help them meet business objectives efficiently, effectively and with professionalism, and this search for the right people with the right skills can fuel a ‘war for talent‘. The question is, “does your CV show you are ready for battle?” Reasons to take BIFM qualifications include that they provide an independent measure of your expertise, and that they provide an accelerated route through BIFM’s grades of membership. First, BIFM qualifications, like any external qualifications, provide independent confirmation that you have mastered the relevant subject matter regardless of the educational or training institution at which you have studied, or the employer for whom you work. Second, BIFM and its qualifications are regulated by Ofqual, Qualifications Wales and SQA. This regulatory recognition confirms the value of the qualifications as external measures of your achievement.
And finally all units that make up the BIFM qualifications have been aligned to the FM Professional Standards. These standards have been developed by the profession and clearly state the competencies required of an individual throughout his or her career across the breadth of functional areas encompassed within facilities management. By studying for a qualification in facilities management you will develop expertise, skills and knowledge and demonstrate commitment to your career. Besides having better employment and career prospects, and greater financial rewards, qualified staff also perform better, which boosts productivity, on-the-job confidence and job satisfaction.
New skills can also be applied to new roles and challenges, making them more attractive to prospective as well as current employers. In other words, people who take the initiative to better themselves through qualifications get ahead.
As FM recruitment agency Maxwell Stephens explains: “In the current economic cycle with more jobseekers than ever, being able to differentiate yourself as a facilities management professional has never been more expedient. With an average of 100 applications per vacancy, your CV and background must stand out to ensure you are shortlisted for interview. In this climate, qualifications can make the difference and are becoming increasingly valuable in making the shortlist. You will only gain the opportunity to demonstrate your suitability for the post with all your relevant experience and achievements if you get invited for interview in the first place.”
There are a range of FM qualifications available to allow everyone from school-leavers to directors to develop their FM knowledge base and skill set.
The BIFM qualifications are vocationally related to the facilities management profession and are both nationally and internationally recognised. Developed in consultation with leading FM employers and stakeholders, accredited within regulatory frameworks (QCF) and (SQCF), the qualifications carry substantial weight, and are used as a benchmark of excellence in the industry.
All qualifications have the following features:
● A level that clearly describes the level of challenge of the qualification.
● A designated size: award, certificate and diploma. Awards consist of 1 to 12 credits, certificates 13 to 36 credits, and diplomas 37 credits and above.
Although the BIFM developed and awards the qualifications, the teaching is normally delivered by recognised centres accredited by the BIFM. The accreditation process ensures that the centre has the necessary support and systems to provide learners with a good experience. A self study option is available for BIFM Levels 2 and 3 directly through BIFM.
BIFM Level 2: new recruits
Aimed at new recruits, these qualifications will introduce the learner to core principles of facilities services.
AN EXAMPLE OF THE LEVEL OF CHALLENGE OF THE BIFM LEVEL 2 FM QUALIFICATIONS IS GCSE GRADES A*-C LEVEL.
BIFM Level 3: first line and supervisory managers
Aimed at staff already working in cleaning, catering or security, for example, with fewer than two years’ experience, who want to advance up the managerial ladder.
AN EXAMPLE OF THE LEVEL OF CHALLENGE OF THE BIFM LEVEL 3
FM QUALIFICATIONS IS A-LEVELS.
These qualifications are aimed at operational managers through to senior FMs.
Depending on previous working background, these qualifications can support career changers wanting to transition into FM. For example, many people leaving the armed services have found that they can make a successful move into FM after completing a Level 4 FM qualification.
BIFM Level 4 stage: operational managers
Aimed at FM professionals with two years’ or more experience of managing, the Level 4 provides a broad understanding of FM. Equipping learners with the ability to identify and address complex and non-routine problems, they are ideal for anyone responsible for managing day-to-day operations, support services, contractors and key supplier relationships, budgets, health and safety and FM projects.
AN EXAMPLE OF THE LEVEL OF CHALLENGE OF THE BIFM LEVEL 4 IS A CERTIFICATE OF HIGHER EDUCATION.
BIFM Level 5: middle or senior managers
Aimed at FM professionals working at a middle or senior management level with several years’ experience.
Designed to develop the learner’s ability to identify and address complex problems, plan and deliver solutions and exercise autonomy and judgement in their area, Level 5 is best suited to those heading up functions such as:
● Single or multi-site operations
● Hard and/or soft services
● Partner relationships
● Performance management
● Major projects with capital spend
● Compliance in health and safety
AN EXAMPLE OF THE LEVEL OF CHALLENGE OF THE BIFM LEVEL 5 FM
QUALIFICATIONS IS A FOUNDATION DEGREE.
BIFM Level 6: senior managers
Aimed at FM professionals reporting directly to the board, responsible for strategic decisions or are influential in the process.
The qualifications equip learners with greater ability to take responsibility for planning and delivering plans to underpin substantial change or development, and to exercise broad autonomy and judgement. They are best suited to those responsible for:
● Strategic review and development of service provision
● Corporate governance and risk
● Driving innovation and change
● Financial performance, corporate responsibility and sustainability, and property and procurement strategy.
AN EXAMPLE OF THE LEVEL OF CHALLENGE OF THE BIFM LEVEL 6 FM QUALIFICATIONS IS A BACHELOR’S DEGREE.
BIFM Level 7: senior managers/heads of estates
Aimed at FM senior professionals wishing to develop practical and academic understanding. The BIFM Level 7 qualifications are standalone qualifications, but also form an integral part of further study to achieve:
● Masters in applied facilities management, a programme that is delivered and awarded by Liverpool John Moores University School of the Built Environment
● MBA in facilities management delivered and awarded by Sheffield Hallam University
Other higher education institutions providing FM qualifications such as a postgraduate diploma in FM, an MSc in FM and an MBA in FM are: Heriot-Watt University; Leeds Beckett University; and University College London. As well as attracting mainly middle to senior-level managers who are keen to enhance their career prospects, these courses may also appeal to graduates who recognise FM as a growing profession. Courses are typically offered on a modular basis through a blended approach of taught sessions and/or distance learning to accommodate entrants holding down a full-time job.
To read more from the 2016 FM World Guide to Career Development please click here.