RMIT at the forefront of FM training
The multifaceted and evolving industry of facility management requires effective training and development programs. FRANKLIN O’CARROLL outlines exciting new developments in RMIT’s FM courses, including a long-awaited Certificate IV traineeship program.
For a long time it has been acknowledged that there has been a lack of skill development opportunities in the facility management industry, particularly when new people enter the industry. There has also been a need for greater recognition and a clear skill development framework.
To combat the gap in training needs and options, RMIT now offers two new nationally recognised academic qualifications in the Facility Management field. Developed in consultation with various industry leaders and governing bodies, the new training courses aim to help meet the increasing challenges of managing the built environment.
Peter Ryan, head of school, Engineering TAFE, acknowledges that the new educational programs are a reflection of industry and TAFE working in true collaboration.
“One of the key challenges for TAFE and educational providers is to develop and deliver support programs which provide a real value-add to industry,” he says. “These programs deliver outcomes to drive results within business and raise the standards of FM across Australia.”
CERTIFICATE IV IN PROPERTY SERVICES (OPERATIONS)
The Certificate IV in Property Services (Operations) was developed in 2008 with nine key industry stakeholders as an entry-level program designed to deliver the skills and knowledge needed to effectively manage the built environment. The program formed part of the Facilities Management Actions Agenda’s brief to support the development of vocational education and training for the facilities management industry (Action 7) – ‘Delivery of the first Certificate IV training in Facilities Management through RMIT –TAFE in close consultation with various industry organisations.’
Since then, RMIT has designed and developed a Certificate IV traineeship specifically aimed at attracting new talent into the FM workforce. The traineeship combines accredited learning with on-the-job practical experience, complemented by the support of a designated workplace mentor; this contributes to the growth of the individual, the organisation and the industry as a whole.
As well as the traineeship, the Certificate IV also caters to those with a trade or semi-professional background and has evolved into an FM function for those who have recently started in a facilities management role (up to three years).
The course covers key operational areas and includes: asset and performance maintenance, property inspection, property risk management, environmental sustainability, property life-cycle maintenance, OHS requirements, contracts and financial management.
This industry-based course is designed to attract new entrants into the workforce, develop and support facilities management staff, combat skill shortages, support staff retention, increase staff skills sets, and introduce current trends into an organisation.
The course is delivered over a period up to 24 months, with students attending the RMIT city campus one day per month. While the emphasis is on face-to-face learning, some topics are available through online study. Anna Galluzzo, who delivered the program in 2009, says it offers a great mix of formal training and on-the-job learning.
“The inaugural program was run in 2009, with students reporting a good mix of detail – from HVAC, plumbing, asset management, and building inspection to legal responsibilities and requirements, as well as offering a great networking opportunity,” says Anna.
“The course encourages teamwork, which provokes a high level of peer cross-learning and pollination. In the pilot course, there were varied levels of skills and experience. Students were able to share their knowledge by entering into discussions which helped to promote true facilitated learning experiences.”
Another key attribute of the course is that assessment is designed so students have the option of recalling their specific workplace experiences for study projects.
Upon successful completion of the Certificate IV in Property Services, graduates have the opportunity to progress to the Diploma of Property Services. Following that, degree and postgraduate courses are available.
DIPLOMA IN PROPERTY SERVICES (ASSET & FACILITIES MANAGEMENT)
Facility managers require a broad and diverse skill set. Furthermore, constant development and innovation within the industry require professional skills and knowledge to be continually enhanced.
The Diploma in Property Services (Asset and Facilities Management) is a more advanced qualification, delivered in up to 18 months, and aimed at participants who have approximately four plus years of facilities management experience and are either working in a senior role (supervisor/manager) or have the intention of progressing to this level.
Further to the certificate, the course covers a broad range of technical and management requirements. It is designed to meet the increasing challenges of managing the built environment and to meet the realities of fast-paced workforce demands. It covers key elements and principles in depth, including managing financial and operational plans, sustainability, asset maintenance and management plans, risk management and workplace safety.
The trainers used to deliver the certificate and diploma are professionals from various backgrounds with formal qualifications in areas including design, building and construction, project management, planning, environment/sustainability and business. They bring expert knowledge and real-life experiences to the course.
Debbie Holland, the commercial manager at AECS and a current Certificate IV student says, “The teachers have been fantastic; they come equipped with a lot of industry knowledge that has been extremely helpful. The course structure is very organised and easy to follow, with a lot of information that is pertinent to my current role. I am looking forward to completing my certificate and entering the diploma program.”
SUPPORT FROM INDUSTRY
The Property Services (Operations) and the Property Services (Asset & Facilities Management) courses are delivered with support from the State Industry Training and Advisory Board, Business Skills Victoria (BSV) and the Construction and Property Services and Industry Skills Council (CPSISC), with support from the state and federal governments.
David Magee, senior project manager at CPSISC says, “We are really pleased to see that the pilot Certificate IV in Property Services proved so successful and delighted that RMIT has expanded the program to incorporate the Diploma.”
The programs were developed by RMIT in consultation with nine key stakeholders, including: ISS World, Brookfield, Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Sentinar, Stockland, Transfield Services, PROGRAMMED Facility Management (Tungsten), FMA Australia and CPSISC. The support from the stakeholder group ensured a well-rounded and balanced curriculum that is relevant and applicable to the facilities management industry.
RMIT University is at the forefront of training in facilities management and provides a range of flexible training and education programs to meet the changing demands of the industry.
Pathways exist for successful graduates completing the Certificate IV in Property Services (Operations) to progress into higher-level qualifications.
The suite of programs offered by RMIT to facility management professionals includes, but is not limited to:
- Certificate IV in Property Services (Operations)
- Diploma in Property Services (Asset and Facilities Management)
- Graduate Certificate of Project Management (Facilities Management)
- Graduate Diploma of Project Management (Facilities Management)
- Masters of Project Management (Facilities Management).
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
RMIT is keen to talk directly to companies about their specific training needs. To find out more about the training options available through RMIT University and how you or your organisation can become involved, contact Jasmin Barker on firstname.lastname@example.org or call (03) 9925 4656, mobile 0457 997 595. You may also wish to view the website (see below).
Tuition fees apply to these programs. Commonwealth and/or state government funding may be available to support organisations’ commitment to trainees.
Franklin O’ Carroll is manager, New Industry Programs, RMIT – Office of Director TAFE. He has more than 10 years experience within the training sector across Australia and Europe. Throughout this time he has worked extensively in the vocational and commercial training segments both as a practitioner and a manager. He is currently the chair of the Facilities Management stakeholder group, which was established in February 2008 as part of the FM Action Agenda’s transitional approach to vocational education. O’Carroll’s role has been to manage RMIT’s facilities management vocational offerings and work in collaboration with industry around program design and implementation.