Home / Features / Career Ladder / Career Ladder talks to Simone Fenton-Jarvis, Workplace Services Consultancy Development Director

Career Ladder talks to Simone Fenton-Jarvis, Workplace Services Consultancy Development Director

Q: What was you first job in the FM sector?
Facilities Assistant in a Leisure Centre.

Q: What made you choose FM as a career?
I had a passion for health and fitness and started to work in Leisure without realising it was FM whilst I qualified as a PE teacher. I stayed within FM once I realised how much I loved it!

Q: How did you progress through the profession to your current role?
I started as a Facilities Assistant in a leisure centre before moving to being Senior Facilities Assistant working within leisure and residential property. I then progressed up to Facilities Team Leader, Facilities Manager and then Head of FM very quickly!

I completed an MBA at Sheffield Hallam and moved onto a global organisation as Operations Manager before becoming Chief Workplace Officer.

Just recently I have moved to Ricoh to work within workplace consultancy.

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?
I’ve always been a little bit addicted to learning – early on in my career I liked to spend time with contractors, watching and learning from them, asking questions and knowing exactly what they were doing. Knowing the ins and outs of everything has massively helped my career.

I’m a Swimming Pool and Spa Engineer, Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. I have various Health and Safety qualifications, NEBOSH, IOSH, First Aid, COSHH, Fire Risk. I completed an MBA a few years ago and currently working out what my next formal learning journey will be!

Q: What is your greatest contribution to the FM sector, or your current role?
I became the first Chief Workplace Officer and took the research to work out how practically that actually looked! I am now working with IWFM to map out future professional standards around workplace. The scope of the role is so big and so important and I can’t wait to see what the CWO roles look like in the future.

Q: What’s changed most since you started in FM?
The increased focus on people and the levels of technology.

Q: What personal qualities do you think are most needed for a successful career in FM?
Tenacity, resilience and drive – to find solutions and carry on (even on the days where everything goes wrong!). Communication and relationship management skills are key as you interact with so may stakeholders. Finally, empathy!

Q: If you could do one thing differently in your career in FM, what would it be? 
Skip the PE (pardon the pun) and head straight into FM at aged 18.

Q: What would make the biggest difference to the FM sector?
FM being a chosen career – as a profession we need to get better at communication and brand building. There needs to be more awareness and learning and development opportunities. It’s such a rewarding, diverse and challenging profession!

Q: Are you a member of any FM association or body and if so what benefits do you think they provide?
IWFM – news / case studies / networking / professional development and a sense of belonging!

Q: What advice would you give to young people coming into the profession now?
Keep learning, keep smiling and building relationships.

Q: What are your long-term goals for the next seven to ten years?
I really want to write a book… people keep asking me what I’m waiting for and to just get started so watch this space.

Q: What do you predict could be the main changes to the FM sector over the next few years?
The increases in technology and the impact that will have on levels of agile working, customer service, supply chains and business improvement.

Q: What are the greatest challenges of working in FM?
I know this is getting a bit boring now, but our biggest challenge still remains that there is a lack of understanding about what FM is and the scope of impact we have.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working in FM?
Every day is different, you’re never bored and there’s always more to learn!

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