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BIFM updates position on energy and skills

26 August 2009

The BIFM has issued position papers on energy and skills. They set out the Institute's views on these two important topics and make specific recommendations to policy makers.

Energy Position Paper: The BIFM’s Energy Position Paper updates the previous paper issued in January 2007. Since then the UK Government has enshrined its response to the threat of climate change in law. The 2008 Climate Change Act requires at least an 80 percent reduction (on 1990 levels) in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The construction, occupation and maintenance of buildings account for around 50% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions. Facilities managers are on the frontline when it comes to operating buildings more efficiently. They can combine whole lifecycle thinking with a practical understanding of how buildings are used.

The BIFM urges a dual focus, not just on the design and operation of new buildings but on improvement and better management of the existing stock.

The Institute makes several recommendations, including the involvement of FMs in ‘user testing’ of new developments and PFI projects; wider use of ‘operational’ rather than ‘asset’ ratings; and greater support for the role of facilities managers in both the public and private sectors.

In relation to Government policy, BIFM has an important dual role - the Institute has a collective knowledge base and experience that can help policy makers to anticipate practical issues; as the leading UK professional institute for FMs, BIFM can communicate government policy to the front line. The Institute is already taking a lead in sharing best practice through the Sustainability in FM research project, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Reading.

"This updated Energy Position Paper offers a concise statement of the BIFM’s views which we will use to open dialogue with opinion formers and policy makers," said Richard Byatt, the Institute’s Corporate & Public Affairs Director. "Where appropriate we will do this in consultation with our many partners but we will also push the distinct message and benefits of professional facilities management."

Skills Position Paper:  BIFM understands that education, training and skills are vital to professional and career development, and believes strongly that the Government should continue to facilitate further training and career development wherever possible.However, if the country’s skills base is to be improved, further work will be needed on communication, access and flexibility.

BIFM has undertaken a detailed two year programme of evaluation, research and market testing of our membership’s skills and training needs. The profile of our membership requires training and qualifications to be suitable for a group not normally targeted, nor accustomed, to formal career development.

The launch of a new suite of qualifications in 2010 and the creation (in alliance with the Institute of Leadership and Management) of a new Level 3 qualification in FM will mean that a diverse range of options for learners, studying and working at all levels is finally available. The Institute continues to work closely with the sector skills council, Asset Skills - a productive relationship which has included development of National Occupational Standards in FM, the 14 to 19 Diploma in the Built Environment and FM apprenticeships.

BIFM’s membership is, for the most part, not able to benefit from the priority areas of the Government’s skills and training agenda; namely securing opportunities for young people, the unemployed and the under-qualified. However, BIFM welcomes the investment and policy development in work-based learning.

"Research we carried out in January 2008 found that employer support is critical to employee progression in gaining further professional qualifications," said BIFM’s Education Director Valerie Everitt. "Given that our direction of travel is very much towards providing access and diversity in training options at all levels, right through to HE qualifications, in order that they appeal to as great a number of learners as possible, we are encouraged that the Government has recently announced that it is similarly dedicated to skills as a means of providing employment and personal development."

The full papers can be read at www.bifm.org.uk


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