Keeping a promise can seem simple in theory, but become incredibly complex in practice. This is never more true than when you are asking for high-level performance of commercial buildings and all their associated services, to sustainable design standards, over an indeterminate period of time and in response to climatic and operational variables. What you have promised can quickly start to look more difficult than you might have thought.
Delivering owner and occupier satisfaction against such challenging agendas is typically the job of the modern Facilities Management (FM) sector. Done well, FM can bring cost and resource-saving efficiencies, plus boost business productivity and employee wellbeing. Not surprisingly, therefore, demand for FM is on the rise.
With the UK market for FM and services forecast to rise to over £117bn by 2017, the ability to meet that growth requirement sustainably and responsibly will be critical to the sector's long-term success. FM is indisputably a team game in which the whole supply chain needs to be both engaged and skilled to deliver.
That’s why we have been so enthusiastic about committing to the Supply Chain Sustainability School.
The school itself is a unique collaboration to develop sustainability competence in the supply chain. It brings together industry leaders such as BAM, Carillion, Cofely, Covance, EMCOR, Grosvenor, Interserve, Kier, Skanska, Vinci and BIFM – all helping to shape clear and consistent training and assistance for the supply chain.
Since its launch in 2012, the initial focus has been on the construction sector, and success followed quickly – the School has won prestigious industry awards, including the overall CIPS Supply Chain Management Award. More than 20 of the UK’s top contractors and clients are now partners, helping to develop and deliver its action-based knowledge and training.
The breadth of issues and problems in the sector is diverse and growing, so it’s important that the school will offer targeted learning and support to help address a broad range of key sustainability issues, including materials, carbon, environmental management, waste, water, biodiversity, ethics, communities and procurement.
Delivering on this future promise of FM requires the collaborative development of sustainability competencies, skills and leadership across complex sub-sectors. In essence, it requires sector-wide support and capability-building which may re-define how people are skilled, trained and tackle ever-evolving challenges.
With over 6000 members participating to date, the school is now set to expand still further. As the economy begins to show signs of recovery, supplier companies and sub-contractors that will make the most of new opportunities will be the ones who shape their sustainability knowledge and competence, skills and leadership. Collaboration is at the heart of the Supply Chain Sustainability School and, faced with such complex sustainability challenges as those presented across FM’s vibrant and dynamic sector, it remains a key way to deliver on our promises – together.
The Supply Chain Sustainability School was the recipient of funding from UKCES as part of its UK Futures Programme, a series of funding competitions that target specific workforce development problems. The programme is intended to fund innovative and collaborative approaches to skills problems identified by research. More information on the UK Futures Programme on GOV.UK.