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Continuing recognition for the University of Huddersfield

30 July 2019

Further success has been recorded for the University of Huddersfield, following the winning of the PFM Awards 2018 Peter Middup Lifetime Achievement in FM Award by Colin Blair, MBE, its director of estates and facilities.

It latest achievement was the winning of the Team of the Year award within the annual Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) Awards 2019.

Seven members of the team were present on the night of the awards' presentations, with the university going to considerable lengths after the event to ensure that all 266 members of the team received recognition for their part in the win.

Its success was further endorsed by the comment from AUDE executive director Jane White: "Huddersfield win our Team of the Year award several times over."

The award was also enthusiastically received from the point of view that Mr Blair values teamwork "hugely" and states that he is "a great believer in a holistic approach to the multi-faceted work" of the department.

This ranges from responsibilities for multi-million pound construction developments within the campus, to everyday maintenance, sports provision and catering.

Mr Blair further states that the department's strong team ethic was the major contributing factor to its success, which has resulted in each of the 266 team members receiving a personalised certificate acknowledging their part in the victory.

Some team members received their certificate from the Duchess of York, a regular visitor to the university, who sets annual design challenges to textile and fashion students.

Others were presented by consultant engineer Hoare Lee's Jerry Barnes, whose company is a sponsor of the event.

Further presentations of certificates to team members have been completed by University of Huddersfield vice-chancellor Bob Cryan, CBE.

While Mr Blair believes it is essential to recognise the efforts of all individuals, he further acknowledges the reinvigorating effect that an award win can have on employees, resulting in observable rises in productivity.

The recent presentations to staff has a precedent at the university, after the decision was made in 2017 for all cleaning staff to training for the Licence to Practice qualification of the British Institute of Cleaning Standards (BICS).

Successful candidates were then presented with their certificates at formal awards ceremonies - complete with academic regalia - following graduation ceremonies that are a high point of the university year.

These events are another aspect of university life that relies heavily on the hard work and professionalism of the Estates and Facilities division to run smoothly.

Mr Blair states that staff have responded well to the BICS programme and have enjoyed the esteem provided by the presentation ceremonies, with rises in cleaning standards another beneficial outcome, with additional advantages including improved perception and experiences within the campus and buildings achieving their full lifecycle.

Several members of the cleaning staff employed by the University of Huddersfield are beneficiaries of a social outreach programme developed by Estates and Facilities, which has developed links with a specialist local employment agency and with the neighbouring Kirklees College to provide work experience and full-time employment opportunities for people with learning difficulties.

Additional efforts are now being made to further expand the community outreach initiatives within the Estates and Facilities team, which was another aspect appreciated by the AUDE judging process, with the potential of providing added diversity.

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