Grounds Maintenance was not a first choice of career for me – I stumbled upon the facilities management industry while working as an office manager for an international FM company.

My love for transforming, recycling and creating has always played a large role in my life. It seemed like a natural outlet to channel my passions and key skills into a grounds maintenance position, having been encouraged some 20 years ago by colleagues and family members.

“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” Gertrude Jekyll

I have been with Robertson Facilities Management for over five years now, and in that time the grounds division has seen massive changes in our client base, working environment, business, and geographical growth.

Today, we provide both hard and soft landscaping services to over 100 sites for a wide range of clients including Northumbria Police, Cleveland Fire Brigade, Teesside University, Newcastle College, Knight Frank, and latterly Robertson Homes, to name but a few.

It’s fast-paced, and that’s what I enjoy. I oversee the day-to-day administrative and managerial operations, covering everything from managing budgets, visiting sites, meeting with clients and coordinating with the various departments within the wider business. I directly manage a team of 12 groundsmen and strive for results through empowerment: encouraging and inspiring staff to reach exceptional levels of performance and, most importantly, emphasising the responsibility of the company and employees to play our part in local communities and the wider society.

It is important to reach out to the next generation to help future-proof the industry. As an FM professional, sharing my time and experiences provides young people with an insight into exciting innovations and career options. It’s not all about physicality, skills and plant knowledge – there are many positions for all capabilities.  As the work culture changes and younger people move into the workforce, their new attitudes towards gender equality make it easier for more women to continue to progress within facilities management.

In years gone by, grounds maintenance was stereotyped as a male-dominated network, however today it is different. Opportunities are equal, FM is inundated with talented female leaders who are changing the face of the industry. Initiatives to drive more females and young talent into the industry is in everyone’s interest. If we can develop more forums that help raise the profile of the facilities management sector and the opportunities available, this will benefit us all.

 

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