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How can the FM Industry Attract and Nurture More Young Talent?

As appeared in TWINFM.

Tevin Tobun, CEO, GV Group (Gate Ventures)

Facilities management (FM) firms have in some ways been the unsung heroes of the covid-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the outbreak, FM businesses have played a vital role in the nation’s efforts to suppress the virus and will continue to do so going forward. And as always, this is a sector that in many ways operates in ‘secret’. It goes on behind the scenes and is most likely to get noticed only when things go wrong.  

But given its crucial role in keeping people safe and businesses moving, now is the time to double down on efforts to preserve the future of FM and encourage the best into our sector. We must embrace this chance to encourage more young people into the industry by showcasing both the value of FM to wider society and the incredible career opportunities on offer. 

According to the Office of National Statistics, there were an estimated 763,000 young people (aged 16 to 24 years) in the UK who were not in education, employment or training (NEET) in December 2019. Many of these young people can be our FMs of tomorrow. However, they need to be aware of what we do and the positive impacts we can have.

FM companies can start by making sure they are communicating these and other positive messages to the wider world. Good FM goes far beyond managing and maintaining the buildings, people and assets of a business. Within its own sphere of activities, FM encompasses cost-effective working processes, improved efficiency, adhering to industry sanctioned health and safety regulations and increasing the lifespan of a business’s assets. FM impacts everything.

But this impact stretches far beyond the buildings in which companies operate. FM not only keeps us safe, FM keeps businesses open, FM also aids productivity. The significance of FM activities are often understated and these benefits are what we are need to be communicating more to you young people. 

There are well documented examples of how FM can directly impact success, such as the study at Cornell University where it was found that raising the temperature in an office from 20oC to 25oC resulted in employees making 44% less typing errors. These are real impacts.

The generations are changing, there is plenty of evidence to support the argument that young people want to make impact. A salary isn’t good enough anymore. We all need to ensure that we demonstrate the value young people can add to the sector, and wider society.

The breadth of roles is often forgotten too. FM isn’t just maintenance people. FM can encapsulate front-of-house hosts in a building, it can be chefs, it can also be senior management within an organisation.  

Few industries provide career progression that is as meritocratic as FM. Ours is a sector that thrives on and rewards the ambition, can-do attitudes and proactive contributions of its workforce. Today’s young people will be tomorrow’s leaders because good FM companies help their people to develop and reach their potential by investing both time and money in their futures. 

By taking advantage of these opportunities, which exist from entry level to graduate, young people can look forward to a long and fulfilling career. But first they new to know about them. So how do we as a sector go about getting these messages across? 

Let’s start by maintaining the momentum of collaboration that has been a positive consequence of the pandemic. The FM industry came together as a community to maximise its resources in combatting covid-19 and it should continue to work together to attract the next generation of workers to the sector. 

And it must do this at grass roots level. FM companies must work with schools to help young people know about the exciting opportunities that exist within our industry before decisions about future careers have started to settle in their minds.  

The ageing workforce and impending skills gap may be less of an immediate concern than something like Covid-19, but it remains a massive issue for our sector and it will cause real problems if action is not taken now. 

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Tobun supports youth organisation at House of Commons debate

Our Group CEO, Tevin Tobun was one of a number of high-profile business leaders to speak to young people at a special event held at the House of Commons last week.

Introduced by Diane Abbott MP, the ‘Young Men – Letter to My 15-Year Old Self’ discussion focused on the career paths of professionals in competitive industries, including legal, tech and entertainment.

Produced by London-based social enterprise Inspirational YOU, of which Tobun is chair, the event was aimed at students and graduates aged 14 and over.

Tobun was selected to offer advice on how to climb the ladder and succeed in business, as well as insight into what it’s like to work in the hospitality industry.

The young delegation also heard tips on balancing work, personal life and wellbeing and the importance of having a career mentor and sponsor.

Formed in March 2010, Inspirational YOU is an award winning provider of inspiring, educational, informative and networking events.

Its programme of activities are designed to motivate and inspire participants by connecting them to leaders and businesses, with events attended by SME’s, community groups, enterprise agencies, charities, schools, colleges, universities and regulatory bodies.

GV Group works across the commercial and public sectors to deliver food and food-related based supplies to restaurants, cafes, hotel groups, as well as schools and healthcare establishments.

Tobun said: “I welcome any opportunity to help young people achieve their career aspirations. It is really important for business leaders to spend time with young people to show them that there are a multitude of roles within hospitality which can enable them to build and develop a successful career.”

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Weeks appointed

Darren Weeks has been appointed as business director for the GV Group, helping to support our business growth.

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Business networking

Tevin Tobun, our group CEO, was featured in a recent article discussing the merits of face-to-face business networking in an increasingly virtual world.
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Keynote speech

Tevin Tobun, CEO of our parent company, GV Group, was a keynote speaker at the Arena Summer event. He shared his business story and offered guests insight into his journey as an entrepreneur.
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