NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE/I) has finalised the Workforce Action Plan for Estates & Facilities Management (EFM) within the NHS and it is now awaiting final sign-off before release. Caroline Lowe, Workforce HR System Manager for NHSE/I told delegates at HEFMA’s Virtual Series event on the Workforce earlier today (October 7) that it is hoped the Plan will be formally published before Xmas.
NHSE/I now has in place a dedicated team to focus on workforce development within E&F professions in the NHS. The team has already introduced some early initiatives to try to improve the visibility of E&F roles and provide some advice around advertising and promoting vacancies. These include improving online signposting and navigation of jobs with the introduction of a specific sub heading for EFM roles on the NHS careers website (www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/), the Kickstart fully-funded work placement for new jobs (the deadline to apply to be involved with this is the end of this year), and a set of recruitment advertising tips. These include how to make a job advertisement more appealing to those seeking work, how to promote locally to boost engagement and how to build-in flexibility.
The priorities of the Workforce Action Plan for EFM will dovetail with four key themes of the People Plan: Belonging in the NHS; Looking after our People; New Ways of Working and Delivering Care; and Growing for the Future. The EFM priorities will focus on embedding equality, diversity and inclusion, improving the health and wellbeing of staff, people development and building the next generation of EFM people.
NHSE/I has also announced the first EFM national staff network for E&F staff from all disciplines and all levels. This is currently hosted on the Collaboration Hub and is an opportunity for all to get involved to receive practical support and information about staff discounts and other benefits, to share experiences and learn from others, and have a voice about the future of the profession.
Caroline also issued a call for NHS Trusts to engage with apprenticeships, describing apprentices as the “bread and butter” of the future EFM workforce. The EFM staff survey in 2019 revealed that only 2% of NHS apprenticeships were in EFM roles – just 400 – and of those only 200 were new-starters. This is a very low level of engagement, which shows the sector is lagging behind and this needs to be addressed.
Now is the time to ramp up activity. For the rest of 2021 and 2022 this activity will be focused on raising the profile of EFM careers in the NHS, making staff feel valued, publishing the Workforce Action Plan and setting up the Workforce Forum and Staff Network. It will involve raising awareness of EFM roles in the NHS, creating a brand for EFM in the NHS as an employer, establishing and emphasising career pathways, pushing apprenticeships, using data and amplifying the great work that is already being done on health and wellbeing, training and development and staff benefits.
Other speakers at the VS Workforce event were Dr Peter Farrell, Programme Lead at the University of Bolton working on the new Level 6 Senior and Head of Facilities Management Apprenticeship degree, Henry Majed, Co-Founder of MyMynd, a mental health support platform, and Gareth Wales, Business Unit Director at CBRE.
There will be a full report on this event in the November/December issue of HEFMA Pulse magazine. HEFMA members can also watch a recording of the event and find details of a special offer from MyMynd in the ‘my region’ section of this website – you must be logged-in to access these resources.