As the landscape of facility management continues to change and evolve, it is becoming clear that there needs to be a fundamental shift when it comes to creating the next generation of facility management professionals.
Gone are the days when a facility manager could just skate by on the knowledge they picked over the years.
While hands-on training and working the way up the ranks does give a knowledge that cannot be taught in a classroom, the fact of the matter is that anyone left in charge of a facility, no matter how big or small, needs to know how to run said facility smoothly.
Things are changing when it comes to chemicals, equipment and procedures and the facilitation of education surrounding these changes has become a mission of Staples Advantage, part of the business to business arm of Staples Inc.
A Mission To Educate
Buildings are not impervious to change.
In fact, buildings are becoming increasingly complex and businesses end up investing large sums of money for more sophisticated systems.
What this all boils down to is an increased need for an educated facility manager who is capable of coordinating all operations and ensuring that a company’s employees can perform their jobs most effectively.
In an effort to support the growing and crucial profession of the facility manager, Staples Advantage awards both the Facility Management Scholarship and the Staples International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Scholarship to students around the country studying to become facility managers.
One of the recent recipients of the scholarship was Tushar Patel, a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, who was given a check for $4,000 at an IFMA World Workplace 2012 event in November.
Patel was chosen from a pool of students adhering to a specific set of criteria.
The scholarship selection committee at each participating school chose students who are specifically in pursuit of a degree their Facility Management program.
Eligible students have to be at least a sophomore and in need of financial aid.
Participating schools can also choose to have their qualifying students apply for the scholarship in any way that they see fit, for example, by submitting an essay detailing why they would benefit from reciving the scholarship.
Why There Is A Need
According to recent statistics from IFMA, a staggering 50 percent of current facility managers are expected to retired over the next 15 years.
While these retirements certainly won’t happen all at the same time, the ripple effect they will have will certainly be felt for years to come.
With the retirement of the current facility managers, much of their knowledge will be retired with them.
As replacements are hired and trained, those at the top of the ladder can pass their knowledge down to the newbies, but it’s never quite the same.
The best way to fill these vacancies is with highly trained and skilled professionals who are armed with the knowledge necessary to smoothly transition from the old guard to the new guard.
The best way to ensure the quality of facility manager that facilities employ going forward, are as good, if not better than, the facility managers they are replacing, is through education.
This might seem like a no brainer, but with the cost of education always on the rise, it isn’t always feasible for those who might make the cream of the facility manager crop to go to a college or university that could further the education that is becoming increasingly necessary for the changing scenery of facility management.
Because of this impending need, the 2012 scholarship, the first of its kind and certainly not the last, will start a trend towards emphasizing the need for education for the next generation of facility managers.
If our buildings are becoming more complex, it only makes sense that those individuals in charge of their upkeep and operation should be allowed the opportunity to pursue the tools that will make them the best candidate for the job.