9 CHALLENGES FACING HIGHER EDUCATION ESTATES TEAMS

    Think back to your time in education. Whether that be school, college or university, was the environment conducive to learning?

    By environment, we mean the setting, surroundings, resources and facilities. Factors which, when implemented successfully, should join forces to engage students, support staff and encourage wellbeing.

    Within the higher education sector, the responsibility of creating a rich learning environment falls heavily on the shoulders of colleges and universities. In particular, its estates and facilities management (FM) teams.

    Despite the UK being home to one of the most advanced and outstanding higher education systems in the world with approximately 2 million students, the list of challenges faced by our estates teams is growing.

     

    The development of FM in higher education

    An article in the book, AUDE: The First 25 Years, explains that 25 years ago FM was a term that was not traditionally used in higher education, or in the education sector more broadly. Things soon changed when a study into public spending and value for money within the higher education sector was carried out in the 1990s. Suddenly, there was a real need for support in the shape of FM.

    According to the Higher Education Estates Management Report 2018, it’s estimated that university estates now spend an estimated £3billion a year on capital projects. However, the role of the estates team is so much more than maintaining and constructing buildings and infrastructure. They have a commitment to providing students, staff and visitors with quality facilities and services while helping to shape the future role of the estate as a physical environment.

     

    Current challenges for estates teams

    The overall standard of higher education estates is thought to be higher than ever but feedback from our clients, including Estate Directors, tells us they are currently facing or expect to be faced with the following challenges:

    1. Keeping up with and meeting the high expectations of the next generation of students.

    2. Balancing quality and cost while juggling a framework of compliance and tightening budgets.

    3. Beating off increasing competition from colleges and universities across the globe.

    4. Facing a time of uncertainty around Brexit and the impact this will have on higher education.

    5. Potentially being subjected to a reduction in tuition fees meaning less money for capital projects.

    6. Managing growing estates with more complex needs.

    7. Constructing and managing new buildings with higher operating costs.

    8. Losing confidence in outsourced contracts thanks to the collapse of companies such as Carillion.

    9. Experiencing significant cuts in capital funding from the Government.

     

    Overcoming such challenges

    Key to overcoming these challenges is the need to develop strategic decisions that are right for the individual needs of each higher education setting and its stakeholders.
    What’s more, as highlighted in research carried out by Deloitte, colleges and universities must think globally to develop a strong student and stakeholder value proposition to distinguish them from their competitors.

    Unfortunately, an uncertain future and cuts in funding are going to shape the higher education sector but we must remember that college and university estates are critical to the success of any institution.

    300 NORTH SPECIALISE IN RECRUITING EXPERTS WITHIN FACILITIES MANAGEMENT AND CONSTRUCTION. IF YOU’RE PART OF A HIGHER EDUCATION ESTATES FACILITY AND WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS RECRUITMENT SUPPORT FOR YOUR TEAM, PLEASE VISIT CALL US ON 0113 336 5161 OR VISIT WWW.300NORTHRECRUIT.CO.UK