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Career Ladder talks to director of Seeclear Facilities

Q: What first attracted you to working in FM, did you have much awareness of the profession?

I started at the age of 16 as an aircraft cleaner working at Heathrow Airport in the mid 80s. Back in those days even the giants of FM today were starting out as cleaning companies.

Q: How did you progress through the profession to your current role?

Its been a very long journey from starting out myself providing cleaning services 30 years ago, to working for some great companies providing clients with not only cleaning but a full FM package of services.

Q: What have you found the most challenging experiences working in FM?

The FM industry has grown exponentially over the last decade and therefore so has the amount of companies offering FM. So, showing prospective new clients innovation and how we deliver an excellent service at Seeclear Facilities has never been more important.

Q: What have you found most satisfying about working in the sector?

Travelling and meeting people across a network of sixteen countries, seeing the differences in cultures and values. Continuing to see people grow and enjoy their roles.

Q: What qualities do you think are most needed for a successful career in FM?

Vision, patience and a willingness to learn new skills.

Q: What has changed about your job role since the COVID-19 crisis? E.g. home working, furloughed, redeployed?

Looking outside the box more often, a better understanding of work life balance and using video conferences instead of face to face meetings.

Q: What is your organisation doing to ensure the wellbeing of staff – whether working at home or returning to the workplace?

Most of our staff continued to work so it was paramount we kept our colleagues safe and ensured the stocks of PPE were maintained. Regular site visits by management ensured a constant communications flow.

Q: Do you believe the pandemic has highlighted the important role of the FM sector and what areas do you see as most key?

For me its highlighted the importance of our cleaning industry and all that work in it, ensuring premises are a clean and safe environment to work in has never been so important.

Q: What advice would you give to someone coming into the profession now?

It’s a great profession to be in right now, lots of great companies who will develop their colleagues. There’s no limit to what you can achieve.

Q: Which of your achievements are you most proud of during your career?

Starting a business at 20 years old and driving it to a successful multimillion pound cleaning business but more recent joining Seelcear Facilities and seeing the huge potential Seeclear have in the FM market.

Q: What do you predict could be the main changes to the FM sector post pandemic?

A more flexible approach. The role of the Facilities Manager has been significantly impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. New legislation responding to the virus will place increased pressure on them to ensure staff safety and plan for future disruptions to your business. Building maintenance may become more frequent, and health and safety laws will become increasingly strict. Government legislation will urge organisations to improve their energy efficiency and sustainability in a bid to meet its net-zero carbon target. As a Facilities Manager, you will play a crucial role in helping your business adapt to these changes in the industry.


As part of its 30th anniversary celebrations, the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) interviewed two of its members who are both at different stages of their career.

Roger Woodward is a founder member of the Building Controls Group, which later became the BCIA and has held roles at Johnson Controls and Tridium during a career spanning more than 40 years. He currently works as an Independent Strategy Consultant and was awarded the BCIA’s Outstanding Contribution of the Year award in 2012.

George Belfield won the BCIA award for Young Engineer of the Year in 2017 and is currently a Building Controls Engineer for InTandem Systems.

Woodward described some of the changes the BCIA has undergone since its formation and how it has benefited the industry: “Companies are now much more open about their problems and opportunities but it took us a while to be able to promote the idea of the BCIA and get it recognised as a body that could influence decisions in industry and government. It is now a significantly more mature body compared to what it started out as.”

George Belfield was born in 1991, the same year the BCIA was formed: “From an educational point of view the courses have been a great start to life as a Controls Engineer. Something the industry finds very challenging is that not many people really know what we do and even now we are often having to explain our job title. So having those courses as a start point provides a fantastic grounding in BMS and helps you get the most out of your work experiences as well.”

He also had some key words of advice for anybody looking to start a career in the building controls industry: “Adopt a problem-solving approach and try to avoid ‘pigeon-holing’ yourself in any one part of the industry. If you want to become a Software Engineer for example it’s useful to gain some knowledge in other areas as well, whether that’s working with a control panel and getting some hands-on experience or dealing with a call-out, you will always learn something that might prove valuable later in your career.” The full interview is available here: https://bcia.co.uk/news/the-generation-game/

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