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First class FM training delivers First Class people says Chris Ash, Managing Director of ISS Healthcare, and a partnership with the Fulham Road Collaborative (FRC) is providing top level facilities management training in the healthcare sector

All organisations – whether public or private sector – want to ensure that their employees have an opportunity to grow and develop their skills and to provide great people with a solid foundation for their career. In FM, it can appear complex to recruit and retain employees and provide progression due to various factors – ranging from the variety of roles within FM and the different skills required in different service areas. Add to this the change that may occur with client contracts, and it can seem an insurmountable issue.

In recent years, there’s been a huge focus across FM to apply consistent training to recruit and retain the right people. At ISS, a far-sighted partnership with the Fulham Road Collaborative (FRC) has taken another step to providing top level training in the healthcare sector – the creation of the FRC London Academy .

Healthcare employees need DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks due to the sensitive nature of the sector, however the level of checks can at times take weeks or months to complete. At FRC London Academy, training can take place alongside the DBS checks at the purpose-built educational centre to prepare porters, healthcare hosts, food services employees, security officers and healthcare cleaners to hit the ground running once the clearance has come through.

The purpose of the Academy is to create a live learning experience that will provide all ISS employees with the required skills to carry out their chosen roles, and to a level that not only meets the expectations of NHS Trust partners, but exceeds them. From the start, the NHS Trusts and ISS were in close agreement about the level on input and resources required to deliver a holistic approach. It started with the building, which provides a fully detailed bed space and washrooms, a working ward kitchen, where food hygiene training is provided as well as group learning spaces, where the ISS i-Can training can be delivered. This has the benefit of making the new recruit fully aware of the environment in which they will work, alongside the organisational culture.

The Academy programme doesn’t stop at new employees, it plays a part in the continued performance and development of ISS people and services. Those needing a refresher of their service standards will revisit the Academy, in addition those taking on new roles or require training on new products and services, will be invited back to the Academy to gain any necessary new competencies.

The ISS iCan training programme – which gained the Princess Royal award in 2016 – is designed to improve employee development along with client’s strategic business engagement objectives. The development programme is designed with Healthcare in mind. Centres of excellence such as the Royal Brompton Hospital deliver their acclaimed service in surroundings built around the specialist needs of patients with heart and lung disease and contains a vital paediatric unit.

In these surroundings, cleanliness is key, therefore every surface and toy must be cleaned down quickly, efficiently and unobtrusively. It takes special training to achieve this level, which the Training Academy can support. The child-friendly environment at the Royal Brompton has a huge range of surfaces, each with cleaning protocols to suit the speed and inevitability of a crawling infant making a break for the aquarium and managing to swipe the floor and fish tanks with sticky hands and runny noses. In a scenario such as this, new recruits need to be up to speed as quickly as possible to help in the treatment of the young patients who usually have compromised rates of recovery.

In addition to the role-based training, a substantial health and safety programme is part of the training. ISS Healthcare gained a Distinction in the International Safety Awards (ISA) for 2018, which acknowledges the ground-breaking blended training which involves Virtual Reality to simulate various scenarios, alongside expert training in how to use equipment safely and effectively.

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