Expert Talk


Today’s fast-paced business culture demands professional service in the shortest possible time, indicating the need for staff to work smarter and harder. The facilities management and cleaning business are just the same, where productivity and efficiency of the staff are what matters within the time frame that is allotted to them. A tool that has time and again proven to increase efficiency and productivity of the staff is training. And to discuss the importance of this tool, ‘FM today’ speaks to Jennifer Peltenburg, FM Director, Khansaheb.

In this current scenario, what importance is given to training in the Middle East’s FM industry?

I think there is much training within the FM industry to-date for operatives, as it is imperative that our staff understand QSHE fundamentals, First Aid, additional technical training (depending upon the site). However, where I think there is a gap is that of the middle management – i.e. Supervisors whereby they know their technical capabilities, but also need in-depth training on leadership and management capabilities.

What kinds of challenges are involved in training?

The biggest challenge is time. There is much going on in a dynamic environment that it needs to be planned strategically in order that the person learns through training, but doesn’t deter from their day-to-day job.

What are the current standards of training in the Middle East?

The current standards, I believe, vary from company to company. Working with a large corporate company like Khansaheb, much emphasis is put on a variety of training subjects, however, depending upon the client, specific attention will need to be taken based on their future vision and objectives to ensure we are on the same page.

Can you mention some of the best practices when it comes to training?

I think best practice comes in application. This means that whatever they are trained on, that they can apply this in a practical way for their job, and make them more confident in what they do. This, then, will make the individual more confident to think of other things to learn to create an even better practice on the specific project and awareness of their environment.

What is the importance of accreditation?

I think that accreditation is extremely important. And, what I mean by this is not the certificate, but what the individual gets out of it. As we move forward all staff to Supervisor level, will be accredited to a standard that incorporates not only operational and technical training but also that of commercial, financial, HR, as well as customer service. They will be tested on their technical and competency levels and as such, to work at Khansaheb in the future will be a challenging one.

What kind of role has Khansaheb played in training their employees?

This will only get more important as the UAE grows. It will no longer be about fundamental technical skills (as we already assess people well before they reach the UAE). As the industry matures, so will facilities management as a whole. And, training will only be more important to grow the individual, as well as grow the business. This will include IoT, data capture and modeling, and analytical skills to which the FM Manager and essentially the team, will need to understand to make the industry mature to an entirely new level.

Khansaheb has a well-established training center. How has it developed over the years and can you tell us your future plans for this center?

We have 3 training centers – 2 dedicated for MEP (DXB and AUH), as well as our BICSc training center. As I mentioned, training will always include the fundamental technical and QSHE training, but where I see my people grow will be in the new learnings around new procedures and technologies, but most importantly about awareness of themselves and their environment. As such, I believe that more emphasis will need to be placed on Customer Service and understanding your customer before they understand themselves. These are the key value-adds for anyone who is busy and essentially don’t need to think about it before it actually happens










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