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Facilities Show 2015 London draws the crowd

As the curtain closes on another fantastic edition of the Facilities Show at London’s ExCeL, FMJ looks back on three days of inspiration, insight and innovation. Oh and some networking too

The 2015 edition was the 17th of the Facilities Show, and the second at its new home in the capital. Over ten thousand visitors and 300 exhibitors flooded into the ExCeL over the course of the show. 

FMJ_2Part of the Protecting and Management Series, the Facilities Show was flanked by the Safety and Health Expo, IFSEC International, the Service Management Expo and Firex International. Between them the five shows attracted 45,000 visitors and more than 1,600 exhibitors.

Combined with top quality speakers and first class opportunities the Facilities Show is undoubtedly the leading event for the Facilities industry.

The tagline for the 2015 edition was “innovation, inspiration and insight” and there was certainly plenty of each over the course of the event.

If you are looking to inspire dozens of hardened FM professionals, you need to have pretty impressive speakers. Well, a six time Olympic Gold medallist, the first woman to ever run a top flight football team and arguably the greatest explorer of the age would seem to fit the bill.

Karen Brady kicked things off on the Tuesday, Ranulph Fiennes held court on the Wednesday before Chris Hoy finished things off on the Thursday. Each drew a packed crowd and their thoughts, advice and anecdotes certainly inspired a fair few people in the audience.

If the celebrity speakers were there to inspire, it was the job of industry bodies and heavyweights to provide the insight. Seminars were provided in several locations across the three days and included talks from faces known across the FM world.

PMSERIES2015-1499In terms of industry bodies, the BIFM continued their unparalleled support of the Facilities Show by bringing back their Careers Zone.

Aimed at: “Those in the industry looking at CPD, formal training, management skills or career opportunities, the BIFM Careers Zone is being designed to provide advice, support, and practical help. BIFM will be hosting and coordinating a series of advice clinics, workshops and seminars, together with training partners, careers experts, skills coaches and specialist recruiters.”

Key figures who spoke from the rostrum at the Career’s Zone included Vicky O’Farrell, chairman of the special interest group Women in FM who asked if women too often let themselves get passed over for promotions and Liz Kentish, MD of Kentish and Co, discussing the importance of networking in progressing your career.

Certainly plenty of insight provided there.

The Building Future’s Group also got in on the act, returning with the BFG Village which proved such a hit when introduced at last year’s event. Opportunities to meet key members of the organisation were constantly available and key speakers included BFG chief executive, Sarah Bentley.

The Innovation Awards were not the only thing that FMJ had a direct hand in, we once again hosted the extremely popular FMJ Debate.

DebateHeld in the Main Seminar Theatre at lunchtime on Wednesday 17th we asked:

“The impending retirement of baby boomers and increased employee job mobility will contribute to a severe talent shortage in the very near future. The cost to businesses will be real as a result of a lack of leaders and gaps in the workforce. How prepared is the facilities management industry to meet the challenges ahead? Both at a management level and in terms of boots on the ground?”

We were also delighted to welcome four industry big hitters to take part in the debate. David Howorth, MD of Mitie Client Services, Servest’s HR director C-J Green, recruitment expert Ash Brown and Steph Hamilton, managing director at ISS Facility Services UK all gave us their views.

FMJAfter weeks of canvassing opinions, researching trends and statistics, compiling, de-compiling and rewriting lists of questions, we thought we were prepared to go to bat with people who actually work on the frontline as it were. Then right at the very beginning Howorth suggested that the Talent Gap was very overstated, at least regarding the FM sector.

The four experts then started asking questions of each other, which, in conjunction to some insightful questions from the audience led to an enlightning discussion where Brown brought up the value that ex-military personnel could bring to the sector and Green gave some excellent points of view from the HR perspective and Hamilton asked everyone to think about the effect of the North/South divide.

FMJ plans to delve deeper into this issue in the next edition, where we will be taking additional questions which hopefully we will be able to put to experts and show lots of stats and quotes around the issue. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who took part and attended.

About Sarah OBeirne


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