This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

FM employers collaborate on skills improvements

20 May 2010

A new project launched last week will alter the training landscape in FM by bringing employers together under an Asset Skills initiative to collaborate on raising the skills of the sector’s workforce

The Virtual Academy in Business Services is a pilot programme launched by the Sector Skills Council for FM, Asset Skills. There are a number of companies in support of this already and Asset Skills is calling on more to get involved as the pilot develops. The Virtual Academy will act as a link between business and training providers, offering practical assistance on training issues. The term virtual was chosen because it was not the intention to create a new facility, but to harness existing structures and use technology to aid communication.
By acting as broker/facilitator, the Virtual Academy aims to put the right people onto the right courses and ensure employers come together for the benefit of the industry. For example, three companies may wish to put 100 cleaners on to a nationally accredited cleaning course. Through the Virtual Academy, they can collaborate and choose the right training provider, according to region or number of learners, and economies of scale can be achieved.
According to Chris Cracknell, Chair of Asset Skills and Chief Executive of international facilities firm OCS Group Limited,  “This project has the potential to have a far reaching impact on the way vocational training is delivered across FM. To ensure its success we need full industry backing. As a fellow employer, I would appeal to facilities companies to participate in this venture as I believe it will be of huge benefit to our sector now and in the future.”
Richard Beamish, Chief Executive of Asset Skills commented. “We established the Asset Skills Virtual Academy for Business Services in direct response to what employers in facilities management were telling us. There was a real need for more coordination in delivering the range of new vocational qualifications that have been developed in FM. This pilot aims to take the pain away from the employer by having one central body dealing with the lot.”
The Academy is a low bureaucracy organisation and a pioneering venture in that no public funding is being used in its creation. Instead, a modest subscription will be charged to members, details of which can be found in the prospectus available at
The Academy is a standalone model, not part of the National Skills Academy network. The learning to be delivered will be sourced through a network of further education and private providers who Asset Skills believes are committed and able to meet industry expectations.
One of the Academy’s first tasks will be to recruit candidates onto the new Facilities Management Apprenticeship through pilots being trialled in five English regions. Another will be to ensure people with the right industry knowledge are enlisted as qualification assessors to help ensure the training on offer is a success.
As the Virtual Academy grows, electronic forums will be established to help the flow of information. A short film featuring employers will be available to view on the Asset Skills YouTube channel at
For more information, visit

Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page


View more articles
Article image

Why the Law Says You Need a Nappy Bin Disposal Service

At home, parents are used to disposing of their babies’ used nappies the same way they do any other domestic waste - bagging it up and sticking it in the r...
Article image

How a new farm park achieved the right washrooms for its visitors

When Lower Drayton Farm in Staffordshire was planning its farm park attraction, Play@ Lower Drayton Farm, getting the washrooms right was an important proj...

Benchmarking maintenance

BSRIA has just published this year's operation and maintenance benchmarking report as a guide for building operators to evaluate their performance against ...
Article image

Lloyd’s transforms office space to make it fit for the future

Following the case study published on the Lloyd’s building in central London published in the

HE Simm creates end to end solution through the integration of its companies

HE Simm has announced the strengthening of its offering - creating a new Integrated Services division, bringing its fire & security and FM business - H...
Article image

Balancing the needs of FM clients and service providers

Philip Ratcliffe says that providing a fair service to both sides involved in the tendering process is a finely balanced art....