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Career Ladder talks to Cheryl Whiting at Encore Estate Management

Q: What was you first job in the FM sector?
I was working in a Residential Home when I was 23, taking care of the cleaning team, parking and security teams there.

Q: What made you choose FM as a career?
I love the challenges it presents and satisfaction it gives me when projects are completed to a high standard.

Q: How did you progress through the profession to your current role?
By showing Encore’s management team that no matter how long I have been doing this type of job, I will keep fighting to learn new skills, and work hard to make sure that whichever Encore-managed site I am lucky enough to look after is kept to an extremely high standard.

Q: Do you have any qualifications or training in FM and related areas such as health and safety? And how have you benefited from them?
Encore has provided me with a great deal of training since I joined, including sessions on Health and Safety, building maintenance and management of Fire Systems. I’ve even received specialist training due to the nature of the building I look after (it’s a specialist conversion). Formal training is something that Encore encourages all staff to undertake on an ongoing basis to provide them with the expertise and knowledge to carry out their duties effectively, and the whole team here at The Galleries have benefited from this policy.

Q: What is your greatest contribution to the FM sector, or your current role?
I feel my biggest contribution to date has been enabling the whole team at The Galleries to flourish. Team morale and productivity are at an all-time high because I believe that every member of the team is equally important and that everyone works better with encouragement and praise when a job is done well.

Q: What’s changed most since you started in FM?
The biggest changes are the service quality and expectation between now and then, expectation is much higher and the internal and external works needed have to reach a much higher grade.

Q: What personal qualities do you think are most needed for a successful career in FM?
Being able to work well in a team and realising that each member is equally important. Being able to make on the spot decisions under pressure (problem solving), patience and a sense of humour are definitely a must.

Q: If you could do one thing differently in your career in FM, what would it be?
I think I would have completed courses in FM and Hospitality rather than starting with no training; that would have made it easier on myself. Luckily I am stubborn and fought to be in the career I love.

Q: What would make the biggest difference to the FM sector?
Structured progression or training course and qualifications specific to the residential property sector.

Q: Are you a member of any FM association or body and if so what benefits do you think they provide?
I am not a member of any association and luckily I get all the support I need from my team and my employer. As a non-member I can’t comment on the benefits of membership, but I believe that any FM association or trade body can help the industry as a whole by promoting the work that FM professionals do – and the high standards we all strive for.

Q: What advice would you give to young people coming into the profession now?
Get stuck into everything and anything you get the opportunity to do to give you experience early on; this will serve you well in the future.

Q: What are your long-term goals for the next seven to ten years?
To continue to build on the great work my team and I have done so far.

Q: What do you predict could be the main changes to the FM sector over the next few years?
Increased use of technology will see the management of systems and buildings more integrated.

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