IWFM Level 4 – Qualification in a Week – The Future of FM Training?
By Jack Flanagan, 24, FM Coordinator, Pareto FM
Like many people in FM, I became involved in the industry through the non-academic route. After my dream career as a rugby player was cut short due to injury and the realisation it wouldn’t put a roof over my head, I found myself working in a junior role for Pareto FM as a Helpdesk Administrator at ZSL Whipsnade & London Zoo. I loved the work I had been doing for the first 3 months and it was great to get my teeth stuck into the real foundations of the FM industry that I knew I could thrive in.
Luckily for me, my employer shared a similar excitement for my career and offered to take me on a journey with them which would include various training courses to further develop my knowledge of the industry and me as a future manager. The thought of an employer investing into my future was surreal and something I really appreciated, this started by studying on various training courses. I was excited to learn new skills but at the same time immediately concerned. The thought of completing any type of academically based, school structured training course filled me with dread. My learning style juts didn’t fit this type of environment, I get more success with just cracking on with things and using common sense to problem solve.
After consulting with my peers and discussing my learning style, we researched the sector together for development opportunities that I could excel in. and we came across the IWFM Level 4 Qual-in-a-week. It was like all my development wishes came true at once. IWFM is the most prominent training provider in the sector and I was keen to ensure I was accredited to one of their courses.
The course was intensive – 6 months of criteria packed into one week, I knew this would throw me well outside my comfort zone but I was well up for the challenge. These factors coupled with being one of the first in the world to achieve the IWFM Level 4 accreditation in a week meant jump full throttle at the opportunity and I’m so glad I did.
The course covered facilities management as a broad function, introducing me to many subjects I hadn’t encountered before such as financial management, space management/utilisation and energy/utilities management. I particularly enjoyed the unit on ‘Innovation in FM’ the real key focus of this is developing the industry, whilst keeping up to date with the changes in technology and people. I really thrived on this shorter course, being out of my usual workplace for a week and taken into that totally new environment really sharpened me up and I felt focussed all week. By consolidating the syllabus into one week, there is the perfect mix of study, pressure, content and sharing of experiences for FM’s to thrive.
It’s incredibly hard to balance these factors whilst trying to execute your day to day job. I would strongly recommend other FM’s, who like me, really struggle with lengthy study application, to take this course. It’s a moderately demanding week, with homework, home study and a few challenging learning tasks but I have lost count of the amount of occasions I have recited the knowledge I gained during this week and it has really propelled me as a budding FM. The course is delivered in a classroom with a mixture of tasks such as professional discussions, recorded presentation, group collaboration (we love post-its!!!) and written questions but delivered in a way to make the learner feel comfortable in absorbing the content.
I loved this course, it felt really tailored to my learning styles and threw me well outside of my comfort zone and I found myself thriving. After completing the IWFM Level 4 I have really caught the bug and have already applied to an additional IWFM course to discover the “What’s next?!” I have really found my career in the Facilities Management sector and now want to continue to progress on the defined IWFM journey.