Success for facilities managers is simply business as usual for their customers. It's no surprise, then, that facilities managers are amongst the most 'knowledge-hungry' professionals in any sector.
It may be advice on health and safety, contracts, energy management, sustainability or any of the dozens of subjects the typical employer assumes a facilities manager will understand. Or it may even be CVs, job interviews and career development. Where do facilities managers turn for help?
Publications like this one are a great help, of course. Inevitably, facilities managers want to hear advice and suggestions from colleagues who have faced the same problems and opportunities. They want to hear from facilities managers who have first-hand experience of a particular situation or who know where relevant knowledge can be found.
Increasingly, facilities managers are also turning to the Internet to seek out advice and information. The annual i-FM Audit, the largest survey of its kind of FM in the UK, has found a growing preference in recent years for online information. There's no surprise there - facilities managers are simply proving that they are in step with what most people do these days, both at work and at home.
So why not provide easy access to the knowledge and tools that facilities managers need to get on with their jobs and build their careers?
Time and again, we hear people in the industry express concern about skills shortages, recruitment and development of young people, and availability of appropriate advice and training. This is worrying, as the quality of the skill base is critical in the successful evolution of any profession. In FM, a real gap exists in the support available for practitioners, especially those who make up the vast 'middle' of the industry - that is, not the youngest and not the most experienced.
Some would argue it is surprising that one of the industry organisations has not stepped forward to fill this crucial gap. But in the absence of any such action, i-FM - the award-winning FM news and market intelligence service - has made the first move with the introduction of i-FMP (www.i-fmp.net ).
i-FMP - P for practitioner - is the new and indispensable online resource for facilities managers. It has been designed to be the first port of call for those 'at the sharp end'. The purpose-designed website provides an extensive - and continually growing - collection of practical information, guidance, checklists, tips, briefings and feature articles, together with advice and standard policy documentation to aid in regulatory compliance. Yes, the site operates on a commercial basis, but in line with i-FM's commitment to the development of a truly professional FM sector, costs are being held down to make it accessible to all facilities managers.
An annual subscription to i-FMP is £125.00 + VAT, with a one-time joining fee of £45.00 + VAT. In a special offer for readers of Facilities Manager 2006, the joining fee will be waived for new subscribers who sign up online and enter the promotional code fm2006.
Based on an expanding community of practitioners, i-FMP increases in content and value the more facilities managers use it. Subscribers are encouraged to contribute their own documents to the pooled knowledge base - and in return, receive a 50 per cent reduction in subscription cost for the following year. In addition, visitors have the opportunity to rate each contribution, providing a quick and reliable indication of its usefulness.
Meeting needs in a dynamic industryi-FMP is the latest in a select range of services developed by i-FM to meet the needs of the rapidly evolving FM marketplace.
Our unique one-day induction course, Fundamental FM, is offered every two months - and sells out each time. Created last year in response to a clear demand for a compact, no-nonsense introduction to what FM is all about - tailored for both complete beginners and those with a bit of experience - consistently receives 9 out of 10 or better on the quality rating scale. Priced at £247.00 + VAT, there is a 25 per cent discount available for bookings made two months in advance. The course can also be run in-house for groups of 15-25 delegates.
With some sound training behind them, facilities managers may then start to think about career development. i-FM's weekly jobs email is the best online source of information available, delivering details of all the latest opportunities direct to your PC. There is no cost for this service, and anyone interested in FM as a career can sign up (simply go to www.i-fm.net/jobs and enter your email address).
And, of course, as you are building your career you will want to keep up-to-date with all the latest developments in this big, complex and dynamic industry. That's where i-FM comes in - as the best source for daily news and information, together with in-depth features and regular research and analysis. For full details about subscribing to i-FM go to www.i-fm.net/?about.ifm - and remember that subscribers get free access to both jobs emails and i-FMP.
So, once you have absorbed all the good information in Facilities Manager 2006, pay a visit to i-FM and i-FMP - an unbeatable combination for FM professionals.
About the author
David Emanuel is Managing Director of i-FM. Please visit www.i-fm.net
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