Navigating Future Success: Exploring Career Pathways in Facilities Management

Embarking on the journey of shaping your career path can be both exhilarating and daunting.

If you’ve ever found yourself navigating the maze of career options, and feeling the frustration of uncertainty, you’re not alone. In an ever-evolving job market, how can you fit in? Perhaps everyone around you has been asking you, “So what’s next for you?” We can help illuminate a path to your future, whether or not you have an answer to that question.

Education sector facilities management

Who are we?   

Here’s our elevator pitch: We’re a global facilities services business with over 8,000 customers and 120,000 colleagues across the UK, Europe, APAC and Middle East. Our services include cleaning, catering, pest control, security, hard services, and private and public sector facilities management. Guided by our TRUE Values, we’re on a mission to make people and places the best they can be, becoming the best facilities services business globally.   

But if you’re interested in the longer version, you can learn more about our history, from our humble beginnings in 1900 as a window cleaning company armed with only a ladder, a pail, and a pushcart.   

Now, you might be thinking: “What is facilities management?” Let’s break it down for you. Say you’ve decided to take a day trip to Richmond Park for a bit of fresh air and serenity or you’re live at Etihad Stadium watching Erling Haaland break records for Manchester City; those might seem like two different settings, but we have had a hand in both. We offer a range of services to a diverse customer base to keep their businesses running as best as they can. This can mean diligently trimming hedges at a royal park or providing your favourite footballer with an energy-fuelling meal.   

To summarise, facilities management is all the behind-the-scenes work that makes businesses and infrastructure perform at their optimum.   

Now that you have a picture of the industry and OCS, you might be wondering where you fit in. A lot of important work goes into making people and places their best which means you have many options. Here is what you can do if:   

You are passionate about the environment  

OCS has committed to achieving a net zero carbon target by 2040. With big commitments like this and our vast customer base, you can be part of the efforts to help many organisations improve their energy and environmental practices and make this world a greener place for generations to come. This could see you becoming an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Director, where you forge strategies and policies to make the organisation and our customers’ businesses more sustainable.   

To work your way up to that role you might first study Maths, Chemistry and Physics for A Levels then study Environmental Engineering or a similar university course, after, you might start in our Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment (QHSE) department as an assistant and work your way up within the company. If you’re looking for some inspiration, you can hear from our current ESG Director, Jacky So, on his journey into the role here.  

You have a creative flair   

If you’re a natural-born storyteller, whether you’re a wordsmith blazing through your English essays or you look forward to your art classes where your imaginations come alive when pencil hits paper, OCS has a place for you in our ever-expanding Marketing and Communications department. To join this department, you might take a more traditional path and continue to explore your creative side with A Levels in Media Studies, English and Art, then study anything from Illustration to Creative Writing to a Business Administration and Marketing course at university.   

Or you can take an alternative route and build a portfolio of visual and written work and hone your skills in your chosen area. You can then find yourself working as one of our graphic designers or content writers, helping tell the story of OCS in exciting and compelling ways.  

You love to crunch numbers  

There’s a wide range of career options for you to explore with us if you love numbers. As an accountant or analyst, you can play a crucial role in helping OCS manage its cash flow and evaluate financial performance. You’d start by taking subjects like Maths, Economics and Business Studies at A Levels then go on to study Business or Accounting at university and before you know it, you’d be perched in one of our offices helping us make smart money moves.  

You’re not quite sure university is for you   

If you’re not sure higher education is the path you want to take but still want a fulfilling career, OCS has many pathways for you where you’d care for important spaces, upskill through training and apprenticeships and lead teams to success without needing a degree. For example, you could become one of our invaluable security managers – leading a team of security officers and ensuring safety standards and protocols are met or join our Talent Sourcing team and help build the OCS community.  

These are only a select few routes through which you can join O.C.S. There are still so many other routes you can explore to join the world of Facilities Management, explore our careers page to see what other options might be out there for you. 

OCS’s sustainable makeover of Lakeview Café in partnership with RAW

Angel Hill, the catering arm of OCS, is pleased to have assisted Worcestershire County Council in rejuvenating one of its establishments, Lakeview Café, through a sustainable approach to refurbishment. 

With a mission to make people and places the best they can be, we continually seek innovative methods to advance sustainability and social enterprise in all our operations. Upon discovering the commendable work of RAW, we immediately recognised the tremendous value they bring. 

RAW is a compelling initiative that places dedication to sustainability and social value at the core of its operations. As a furniture-making and woodworking organisation, they identified and actively addressed the waste generated by the industry, while simultaneously empowering individuals. To date, they have generated over 50,000 hours of social impact and have collected 715.5 tonnes of reclaimed wood. Three-quarters of RAW’s workforce have come from diverse backgrounds, including individuals with histories of offending behaviour, addiction, or homelessness, demonstrating that excellence knows no bounds. .

In collaboration with RAW, we initiated a plan to refurbish the cafe’s interior using pre-used furniture. Our partnership ensured that the cafe did not compromise on quality or aesthetic branding benefits. All 80 chairs utilised in the refurbishment were from the previous cafe. Approximately half of the tables were recycled, sandblasted, and repainted, leaving no room for wastage. Additionally, the refurbishment featured tables made from recycled plastic, transforming bottles and waste plastic into functional pieces. 

The outcome is a visually appealing environment with a unified design, providing the local community with a space to connect, relax, and savour nourishing food. They can rest assured that their local council, in collaboration with OCS, is consistently working towards environmentally friendly solutions and empowering individuals from diverse backgrounds, thereby avoiding further harm to the environment. 

OCS named as supplier for RM6331 Healthcare Soft Facilities Management Services

20th February 2024: Leading facilities management (FM) service provider, OCS, has been named as a supplier on Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) RM6331 Healthcare Soft Facilities Management Services agreement, strengthening its position in the public sector for its FM offering to the healthcare industry.

This supports its ambitious plans announced earlier this month; to become one of the leading forces in the FM market, bolstered by its commitment to deliver integrated, high-quality facility management solutions.

OCS services available through the Healthcare Soft FM Framework include Cleaning, Catering and Bundled Soft FM (e.g. Security Services, Portering and Logistics, Waste Services, Grounds Maintenance, Linen and Laundry, etc.). Whilst OCS already has a large footprint in the healthcare industry, the Framework helps reinforce its position, as the company will be competing for call-off contracts amongst other major FM leaders.

This means public sector buyers looking to enter into a contractual relationship with OCS can trust that they are working with a verified supplier that delivers high-quality, cost-effective service with the additional assurance that they are making actionable improvements in ESG.

Being named on the CCS Framework for RM6331 Healthcare Soft FM Services further establishes our market position in the public sector as a best-in-class facilities management solutions provider.

We look forward to building relationships with the healthcare providers that choose us as their service delivery partner, leveraging our expertise to fulfil their business needs and improve efficiencies across facilities management.

This will be achieved by combining technology, innovation, and collaboration in our approach to FM, whilst applying the most appropriate methodologies and best practices in compliance with standards outlined by NHS England and other professional associations within the industry.

Daniel Dickson

UK and Ireland Chief Executive Officer

Crown Commercial Service supports the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services. In 2022/23, CCS helped the public sector to achieve commercial benefits equal to £3.8 billion – supporting world-class public services that offer best value for taxpayers.

Services included in this story

Fore-ward Thinking: Security swings into support NIHE Charity Golf Day!

When asked by our customer, Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), last summer to take part in an upcoming Charity Golf Day our security team were thrilled to support. OCS provide security services at NIHE sites across Northern Ireland and has become a trusted partner, as such, we knew we wanted to sponsor the event in aid of Age NI.

Every two years, the NIHE’s fundraising committee selects a chosen charity to support through fundraising events within the organisation, and for 2023/24 and 2024/25 their chosen charity is Age NI – a leading charity in Northern Ireland dedicated to improving the quality of life for older citizens, fostering a society where we can all thrive as we age.

In attendance from the OCS team were Vincent Galvin, Key Account Manager and Alan Kelly, Security Operations Manager who managed to dig out the clubs from the back of the shed and dust them off. They certainly looked the part and helped raise much-needed funds for Age NI, but the less said about their performance, the better.

We thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this event and supporting our partner NIHE.  Collectively we managed to raise a total of £8,260 for Age NI through the event.

It is truly gratifying to be able to support our customers in their efforts to boost social and charitable initiatives within their local communities. Events like these are integral to our own commitments to social value and community empowerment

We are delighted to be able to support Age NI and all of the important work that they do across Northern Ireland.

I would like to thank everyone who donated and got involved in our fundraising, and also the fundraising committee and the colleagues who were involved in organising these fundraising activities.

Grainia Long

Chief Executive

Our mission is to make people and places the best they can be. This means supporting our customers by delivering the best services possible but also helping them achieve their wider Environmental, Social and Governance goals.

Age NI is a fantastic charity that is essential for the older community in NI and OCS was privileged to support this event.

Aine Mulcahy

Managing Director OCS Ireland

Promoting Social Mobility at Clarence House with People into Work Scheme

In an esteemed visit to the Clarence House, hosted by Her Majesty Queen Camilla, in celebration of The Poppy Factory’s centenary, OCS was invited to join The Queen in celebrating the brilliant work of the Poppy Factory. Reflecting our collaborative efforts with the charity, we were granted two places—an exceptional gesture, considering most organisations receive only one. Present at the event were Toni-Marie Vaughan, Head of Social Mobility, and Tony Crilly, People Director for the UK & Ireland. 

The Poppy Factory, a prominent employment charity, focuses on reintegrating veterans into the workforce after their military service. The veterans they assist often face formidable challenges within the Armed Forces community, contending with complex mental and physical health conditions compounded by issues such as homelessness and addiction. 

OCS takes immense pride in its partnership with this significant organisation through the ‘People into Work’ program. Launched in 2019, this initiative has evolved through insights gathered from our operational teams, strategic partners, and candidates, allowing us to maximise our social value impact. 

Since its inception, the People into Work program has facilitated the employment of 176 individuals. By actively hiring people with various barriers to employment, the program empowers them and contributes to our work culture by promoting diverse experiences, fostering inclusivity, and championing diversity. 

We are profoundly honoured to have received an invitation to such a pivotal and momentous occasion. Our commitment to supporting The Poppy Factory’s work aligns with our dedication to advancing social mobility in the UK for our former servicemen. 

Kickstarting Electrical and Hard Services Careers With OCS Modern Apprenticeships

Mike Stark, Director of Data and Networks, sat down to discuss the benefits of completing an OCS Hard Service Modern Apprenticeship on the SELECT-Trade Association for Electrical Contracting Industry Scotland Podcast.

Our apprentices expand their knowledge through their learning and are supported to start a rewarding career in a variety of specialisms. The apprenticeships encompass a wide range of skill development such as: Electrical, Heating and Ventilation, Data Cabling, Service and Maintenance, and Plumbing, gaining hands on skills in and outside the classroom.

It’s the career, it’s the opportunities it can give you in life. After going through the last 4 years, I can honestly say I enjoy it.

Josh

Hard Service Apprentice

In the podcast, Josh share his journeys of completing the four year Electrical Apprenticeship course and explains how he has overcome challenges and ended up enjoying the career path he is on. Mike emphasised our commitment to supporting and nurturing the apprentices careers and how important it is to not discount yourself from a successful career in Hard Services.

Our industry needs electricians. We’re here to support. We want them to be successful. It’s about encouraging them and ensuring they learn.

Mike Stark

Director of Data and Networks

Find out more or apply

Apprentice of The Year Awards: Celebrating Excellence and Success

OCS is pleased to announce the conclusion of its third annual Apprentice of The Year award ceremony, held on Wednesday, February 7th, in alignment with the UK’s National Apprenticeship Week. 

The purpose of our annual Apprentice of The Year award is to recognise and commend the dedication of our colleagues and their teams who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to our TRUE Values by actively engaging in upskilling and personal development. It is our privilege to offer the necessary resources and support to enable our colleagues to take significant strides in advancing their careers. Our dedicated Social Mobility team, specialising in tailored pathways for the facilities management industry, collaborates with esteemed partners and industry leaders, ensuring our apprentices receive the best experience. 

Our apprenticeship recognition and awards program features twelve monthly finalists, who have shown exemplary initiative within their programme gaining recognition from their line manager or skills coach as part of the nomination process. The selection process is based on nominees meeting either one or all of the PIBS criteria, namely;  

  • Personal achievement and progression
  • Impact of learning/Return on Investment (ROI) 
  • Behavioural change 
  • Self-management 

This culminates in the selection of an overall annual winner and a runner-up at the Apprentice of The Year ceremony. This year, Khalid Mahmood, an OCS Security Officer at HMCTS, secured the top position, earning a Distinction in his Level 3 training. Michelle Rowe, OCS Production Chef at Desborough College, displayed remarkable achievement as the deserving runner-up, successfully completing her level 2 qualification. 

We also extend our appreciation to our training service partners who have consistently gone beyond to provide our colleagues with exceptional support. In recognition of their outstanding contributions, we are pleased to announce that Mercury Training Services Ltd and GLP Training Ltd have been honoured as our Outstanding Training Providers of the Year. 

We take immense pride in the accomplishments of our apprentices, who consistently navigate the challenges of simultaneous learning and professional responsibilities. Their dedication is commendable, and we remain committed to fostering an environment that encourages continuous growth and development within our workforce. 

National Apprenticeship Week is an opportunity for the education and skills sector to celebrate the achievements of apprentices around the country and the positive impact they make on communities, businesses, and the wider economy.

I am OCS’s Skills Development Manager here at the Department for Education, and it is great to see that positive impact being made through OCS’s apprenticeship programme. Since the pandemic, our focus on employer engagement has shifted slightly, with a greater emphasis on the quality of apprenticeships being delivered, rather than just encouraging more starts, and it is clear OCS’s approach is equally aligned with this.

Bertie Hutchins

Skills Development Manager (South), Department of Education

Dedicating myself to supporting the development of others is a priority for me. Individuals who choose to participate in our programs are expressing a commitment to self-improvement despite their demanding professional obligations. As a company, it is crucial for us to acknowledge and appreciate the effort and sacrifice made by those who embark on this journey of personal development. We take pride in recognising and valuing their commitment.

Tim Bowers

Apprenticeships & Funded Learning Capability Manager

Nurturing Culinary Excellence: Angel Hill’s ‘Culinary Classroom’ Programme

For the Love of Food

At Angel Hill, we know that the heart of exceptional catering lies in the passion and skill of our chefs. That’s why we’ve established the ‘Culinary Classroom,’ an internal chef training program designed to harness and elevate the culinary talents within our ranks.

The Culinary Classroom is a year-long journey that offers chefs from across our organisation the unique opportunity to hone their craft and delve deeper into the intricacies of the culinary world. With a strong focus on essential skills and a deep understanding of our supply chain, this program equips our chefs with the tools they need to excel in the dynamic catering industry.

Module Diversity

The heart of the Culinary Classroom lies in its diverse curriculum. Our chefs embark on a thrilling educational journey that encompasses various facets of their profession:

  • Kitchen Management: Chefs learn the art of efficient kitchen management, ensuring every culinary operation runs smoothly.
  • Seasonality: Understanding the ebb and flow of seasonal ingredients is crucial in crafting menus that showcase the best of each season.
  • Menu Planning: Chefs master the art of menu creation, crafting dishes that delight the palate and meet the highest culinary standards.
  • Practical Cookery Skills: Hands-on training ensures our chefs excel in practical culinary techniques, bringing their creations to life.
Beyond the Kitchen

The Culinary Classroom is more than just classroom learning. It’s an interactive, practical, and enjoyable experience. It encourages our chefs to break away from the routine of their daily tasks and venture out to explore the broader food chain.

Farm Visits: Our chefs first-hand see where our ingredients originate. These visits foster a deep appreciation for the quality and origin of our produce.

Workshops: Specialised workshops led by industry experts expand our chefs’ horizons and expose them to new culinary perspectives.

Trade Shows: The program includes visits to trade shows and culinary events, keeping our chefs up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations in the catering world.

A Path to Leadership

The Culinary Classroom is not just about enhancing skills; it’s also about nurturing leaders. We’re proud that many of our senior chefs have come through the ranks, starting their culinary journey with Angel Hill and rising to lead our ever-growing catering division.

In conclusion, the ‘Culinary Classroom program is a testament to our commitment to culinary excellence and the growth of our talented chefs. Through this initiative, we aim to ensure that every dish we serve reflects our team’s passion, dedication, and expertise. Angel Hill is not just a catering company; it’s a culinary journey filled with love and dedication to the art of food.

“Since its launch in 2015, we’ve had over 60 colleagues progress through their journeys in the class, and it’s been an absolute privilege of mine to mentor and guide our people. Giving our people the opportunity to have new experiences and gain knowledge, skills and confidence in their profession gives me immense pride; it’s a true pleasure to behold each year’s class bond over their shared passion, a love for food.”

“Over the year, our Culinary Classroom has paved the way for our aspiring chefs to achieve their goals and aspirations, taking them to places they never thought possible within the industry. It’s been an absolute privilege to be a part of it; I can’t wait to see and meet the new chefs we take onto the Culinary Classroom in the future.”

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Matt Vernon

Executive Development Chef

Best Experience: The Role of Amika Guest Services in Creating Outstanding Moments

Delivering the best experiences

In the world of hospitality, the role of guest services and concierge teams is pivotal. Amika Guest Services, with its unwavering commitment to excellence, stands at the forefront, bearing the responsibility of delivering the best experiences possible. These experiences can make all the difference, not only for guests but also for businesses, presentations, and overall productivity. Amika Guest Services plays a crucial role in ensuring that every interaction is exceptional and how these interactions contribute to the success of various endeavours.

Amika Guest Services understands that the little things matter. From when guests arrive to their departure, our dedicated team ensures that every detail is thoughtfully taken care of.

Our mission is to make people and places the best they can be, focusing on creating an environment where everyone feels safe, welcome, and secure.

The Impact on Return Guests

Exceptional guest experiences are more than just a warm welcome. They are the foundation for building lasting relationships. A memorable stay can differ between guests choosing to return or seeking alternatives. At Amika Guest Services, we aim to win hearts and minds, creating customers and advocates for our brand.

Boosting Business Success

In today’s competitive business world, presentations and meetings are critical. The quality of the guest experience can significantly impact the outcome. Amika Guest Services ensures business meetings run smoothly, presentations go well, and teams are optimised for success. Our attention to detail and commitment to excellence contribute to the overall productivity of your organisation.

Operational Resilience and Safety

Amika Guest Services goes beyond hospitality; we are also dedicated to operational resilience and safety. We follow proper procedures and best practices to keep everyone safe. Leveraging the support of our other FM divisions, such as catering, hard services, and security and access controls, we provide comprehensive solutions to ensure the security and well-being of all.

First impressions that last

Amika Guest Services is about creating outstanding moments that leave a lasting impression. Whether for guests, business endeavours, or safety measures, our team’s mission is to make people and places the best they can be. We understand the significance of providing every essential service our customers might require. It’s a responsibility we take seriously; ensuring the satisfaction and well-being of our customers is always our top priority.

“We understand the significance of providing every essential service our customers might require. It’s a responsibility we take seriously; ensuring the satisfaction and well-being of our clients is always our top priority.”

Huanita Wallace

OCS Front of House Ambassador

Unity: Arthur McKay to Operate Under OCS Banner

The OCS TRUE values – Trust, Respect, Unity and Empowerment – have been the driving force for us as we have transformed as a business following the merger of OCS and Atalian Servest.

Arthur McKay, a leading building support service organisation, was an Atalian Servest company that provided smart and integrated services to over 1,000 client sites around the UK. As part of the consolidation of our operations and unification of our purpose and vision, Arthur McKay will no longer exist as a separate entity and is instead operating under the OCS banner.

We will continue to provide the same services and solutions – mechanical and electrical, fire protection, building fabric and data networks, to name just a few. Our 1,500 colleagues from Arthur McKay will continue to utilise their specialist knowledge and skills to ensure that customers benefit from a solution tailored to their specific needs, but now have the additional benefit of the backing and support of the OCS business.

The unification of Arthur McKay and our Hard Services division is an exciting change and one in which we hope will take us one step closer to achieving our mission of making people and places the best they can be.

“Bringing Arthur McKay and the rest of the M&E and Hard Services businesses together as a single OCS division provides a far greater depth of capability and capacity. This ensures our customers receive the very best service and enables the drive for innovation.”

Nick Maggs

Managing Director – Hard Services

The Power of Listening: Why Our Colleague Engagement Survey is Essential

Embracing global perspectives

Every one of our OCS colleagues is valued, and as the Group Chief People Officer at OCS, in a company as diverse as ours and spread across numerous countries and embracing many languages and cultures, it’s imperative to truly listen to our colleagues. This understanding forms the bedrock of our strategy to become the world’s leading facilities service company.

The significance of every voice

In an organisation as vast as OCS, the insights and experiences of our colleagues, particularly those on the front lines, are invaluable. These team members are the eyes and ears of our operations, interacting directly with our customers and experiencing first-hand the daily challenges and triumphs. We must not only hear their voices but actively listen and engage with them.

Beyond the survey: A commitment to action

Conducting a colleague engagement survey is vital in this engagement process. However, the true essence of these surveys lies in what we do with the information we gather. It’s about turning feedback into action, ensuring every suggestion and insight raised is addressed, not just acknowledged. This approach isn’t just about improving our operational efficiency; it’s about fostering a culture where every colleague feels respected, valued, and heard.

Creating a stronger, unified OCS

Our ambition to be the best in the world is deeply intertwined with our internal culture. Engaging our colleagues through these surveys is more than just gathering data; it’s about empowering them to shape the future of OCS. Their insights are pivotal in crafting policies and practices that resonate with our diverse workforce, driving us towards a cohesive and inclusive organisational culture.

Conclusion: Cultivating a culture of continuous improvement

In our journey towards making people and places the best they can be, the engagement and satisfaction of our colleagues remains a top priority. Through our engagement surveys, we’re not just collecting opinions but inviting our colleagues to participate actively in our journey towards excellence. By listening and responding to them, we are enhancing their experience at OCS and reinforcing our position as a global leader. Together, we are building an exemplary OCS in service, colleague satisfaction, and engagement.

OCS: Pioneers of the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme

Now Globally Recognised: Sunflower Lanyard Scheme

The Sunflower Lanyard Scheme, initially launched at Gatwick Airport by OCS Group to assist passengers with hidden disabilities, has been successfully adopted in airports globally. This innovative initiative, which began as a trial over the summer, has significantly enhanced the travel experience for thousands of passengers and their families worldwide with hidden disabilities such as dementia, autism, or hearing loss.

Discreet recognition

Introducing these distinctive lanyards lets travellers discreetly inform airport teams of their need for tailored assistance. The lanyard ensures they receive the proper support throughout their journey, such as extra time for processing information or preparing belongings before security screening. OCS assistance teams across the UK and globally have undergone specialised training to recognise and appropriately respond to these lanyards.

This scheme is part of a broader initiative by OCS Group, which provides assistance services at multiple airports across the UK & Ireland and globally. The initiative was informed by the “Challenging for Change” report, which captured the experiences of passengers with disabilities and suggested improvements. Follow-up workshops facilitated dialogue and idea exchange among airlines, airport operators, baggage handlers, disability groups, and support service providers.

Charity Partnership & Collaboration

Key UK charities like the Alzheimer’s Society, The National Autistic Society, and Action on Hearing Loss have collaborated with Gatwick Airport and OCS Group in this endeavour. At launch, Nikki Barton, Head of Terminals and Passenger Assistance at Gatwick, highlighted the scheme’s role in reducing travel stress for passengers with hidden disabilities and the importance of training for frontline teams in enhancing passenger experiences.

OCS Group has 60 years of expertise in the aviation sector and their commitment to excellence for passengers needing additional assistance. The lanyard scheme, born from extensive consultations with disability groups, aims to minimise misinterpretations of the specific needs associated with hidden disabilities.

Specialist Colleague Training

The lanyard scheme’s rollout was supported by comprehensive training, with NVQ Level 2 training in dementia care now standard for OCS teams in the departure lounges. Numerous Dementia Friends Champions have been trained across the airports to further the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme.

Sue Rennie, Alzheimer’s Society Services Manager for West Sussex North, said, “People with dementia and their family carers often find travelling daunting when faced with unfamiliar and busy airports. The lanyard scheme for passengers with hidden disabilities introduced at Gatwick offers reassurance to those who use it. It also helps airport teams know that they may require additional support, which can improve the passengers’ travel experience at the airport.”