Learning and Career Development 2014

This Award recognises FM organisations or internal FM teams who can provide demonstrable commitment to improving the knowledge and skills of their people within the FM profession.


Winner: FES FM
Initiative: Committed to knowledge and skills development
Sponsored by: Hays Recruitment

Best practice learning points

> A commitment to training that remained steadfast despite the recession and underpinned significant growth
> A business strategy that links staff learning, development, loyalty, productivity and profitability
> A management training programme which has been developed in line with BIFM professional standards framework and aligned to specific client requirements
> Acquisition of staff through transfer of Undertakings (TUPE) places additional challenges on ensuring uniformity across knowledge and skill levels. These challenges are addressed by continuous training programme and regular benchmarking
> Real career progression shown with two senior directors having started their careers as apprentices with FES
> Internal development over external recruitment approach taken


FES FM employs over 900 managerial, support and multi-skilled technical staff across the UK and provides a range of hard and soft facilities management services to a diverse portfolio of public and private sector clients. The FES Group has grown to become the 3rd largest private sector company in the Central Scotland region. Its founder and current chairman, Duncan Fletcher, has a CBE for his services to business and the community in Stirlingshire. The company’s commitment to apprenticeships, internal promotion and development and its inclusive approach made FES FM winners of the Learning and Career Development Category.

FES FM’s ‘Employment and Skills’ strategy sets out the organisation’s mission to be recognised in local communities, for delivering positive social and economic impacts. FES FM effectively promotes employment and training opportunities throughout the company. It has engaged in local employment and training initiatives, working closely with organisations such as Action for Children to ensure young people in its communities have access to employment opportunities created as a result of the company’s work with local projects. The company has it’s own purpose-built training academy developed in conjunction with Forth Valley College that delivers tailored training. The academy produces at least 12 apprentices for the company annually and has produced 250 apprentices since 2002.

The company has a policy of promoting from within. In the last 10 years nearly 42% of all management staff has been promoted in post and of these a further 9% have been promoted twice. A further 3% have been promoted for a third time. This is backed up by a learning and development programme designed to support successful contract delivery.

The company made a significant impact on its staff turnover which, as is typical with sectors involving TUPE transfer, tends to be high. By nearly doubling the training budget every two years, churn has reduced with retention rising to 96% of staff paid hourly and to 98% of management staff. This commitment is enshrined in the company’s Investor in People policies which FES FM has held continuously over the last decade.

To stay on the front foot, training needs are assessed twice a year and also at the point when staff ‘TUPE transfer’ into the organisation. Individual training plans are compiled for every member of staff and are managed and developed on an on-going basis. Employees take part in a comprehensive continuous professional development (CPD) programme according to their needs. This covers QHSE (accredited to ISO 9001; ISO14001; ISO 15001 and OHSAS 18001); a module driven apprenticeship programme; management training in line with BIFM career path development; a skills training academy providing specialist skills training and cleaning proficiency skills for the 300 cleaning operatives the company employs.

Training at FES FM comes with obligations. It is delivered in a structured manner with strict attendance requirements and formal certification provided on successful completion. Training topics are derived directly from the company’s integrated management system (QUEST) which catalogues risks and exposes them as business risks.

“Continuous training and development of our staff underpins the successful long term development of FES FM. Our strategy and investment in training across the business ensures we have the necessary talent and skills to support the requirements of our clients across the UK”. Ian Maitland, Managing Director, FES FM

The Judges said

FES FM demonstrated a long-term, strategic commitment to learning and career development with clear evidence of how its investment contributed to a sustained improvement in business performance. FES FM has created a wide-ranging L&D programme both to attract people into the FM sector and to develop the technical and managerial capabilities of its staff. The judges were impressed with FES FM’s collaborative approach with education partners such as Forth Valley College and Heriot-Watt University, and with the board’s continuing desire to better understand, evaluate and control its investment in L&D in the future.