FM and further education

In October the UK’s Universities will be welcoming thousands of students embarking on a new academic journey with thousands more for a further year of study.

It is a logistical exercise more in keeping with mobilising an army. Managing a university is about a lot more than just lectures. What’s more, those students pitching up to their halls of residence and student union buildings in freshers’ week are far more discerning than in previous years.

Why? Value for money from the average £26k for a three-year course is paramount. Students make their choices based on first class facilities as well as a first class education – much of which is influenced by the FM service provider selected by the estates and property teams. That means clean comfortable rooms; a secure environment; excellent lighting in the library, research environments and constant, blisteringly fast broadband and omnipresent Wi-Fi is critical. But these kind of services, backed by technical know-how is not going to set you apart as a university or as a service provider on campus.

What makes the difference now – just as it might in terms of that first essay delivered to the senior lecturer – is thinking outside of the box. Estates teams of universities often have complex portfolios and diverse responsibilities. It is about recognising that universities have a wider brand appeal than just their students. Their properties and facilities play a role in a student’s life, but they also play a part in the wider community of the local people living and working around a university.

Universities are competing with each other for fee paying students and also research grants, the support of corporate bodies and the backing of government. Seamless, dynamic FM support is what is called for – but to deliver that requires the teamwork of one unit.

The FM provider has to become as one with the estates team so that all end users, students, the public, university staff and campus guests and visitors cannot see the join. It also means a shared risk. It means an adherence to a shared culture and vision of what outstanding service looks and feels like every day. It means working as a single high performance team.

That’s what Tenon FM does for all of its clients – but this next few weeks is the first big exam for our university teams. Take a look at our proposition for University of Hertfordshire and you’ll get a feel for how we do things. In the next few weeks and months we will give you an update on our work – but if you have any questions let us know.