Home >The Facilities Event Live: From the front-line to FM

The Facilities Event Live: From the front-line to FM

11 April 2019

Delegates at The Facilities Event listened with interest to Bryan McLaggan, managing director at CTS, as he discussed why facilities management is a key choice for many former military servicemen.

McLaggan himself spent 23 years in the British military and is a former warrant officer in the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers. He has had a ten-year career in FM, including his current role as managing director of M&E firm CTS.

He began by explaining that we are facing a massive skills shortage across a range of industries and something needs to be done to tackle the problem. The UK engineering sector for example employs 5.7million people and contributes 25% of UK GDP, however recruiters are struggling to fill engineering roles and the political climate is compounding the problem.

According to McLaggan, the government and private sector are looking to resolve the matter but the approach is inconsistent. CTS has produced a white paper 'Tackling the engineering skills shortage' which explores the tactics being employed across industry to resolve this, which is available to view on www.cts-ltd.net.

Former military servicemen have a lot to offer the FM industry - particularly at such a challenging time.

McLaggan began his FM career four years before leaving the military, working on a zero-hour contract at St James hospital in Leeds and then Manchester Royal infirmary. On leaving the army he secured a full-time FM role at the treasury.

McLaggan explained that he was attracted to a career in FM because it requires a range of skills including good communication, leadership, project management, use of technology, and financial and business acumen.

His first piece of advice for military veterans was to do your research. "The FM space is vast so I started the journey four years before, but I think I could have started even earlier."

He added that "you can't sit back and wait for opportunities to come to you, you've got to find out what's on offer and go and grab it".

He also advised veterans to be specific and hone in on what they really want to do as there are a huge variety of job roles and organisations out there.

There is an allowance from the army to help veterans with the move if you ask for it, and transition partnerships are available which McLaggan urged veterans to learn about.

He also described networking as "the most valuable tool on my journey".

When asked by a delegate what his biggest stumbling block was in making the transition to a career in FM, McLaggan said it was commercial and financial awareness. "I didn't initially appreciate the gravity of that topic across all aspects of the role."

While this particular area led to a steep learning curve for McLaggan, he believes that former military servicemen tend to have lots of transferable skills that are a great fit for FM.

"Most are motivated, team-focused, problem-solving and effective under pressure," McLaggan said. "They're used to having responsibility for high value assets maintenance and management of equipment. And because the army programme is structured and clear, even after a few years it can produce well rounded individuals."