Cofely Besix Facility Management (CBFM) recently launched an award-winning ‘Partnership for Development’ initiative involving the transfer of facilities management skills aimed at reaching out specifically to blue-collar workers from a variety of different companies, located across the UAE.
CBFM has already partnered with two of the largest FM worker’s accommodation, namely: Al Raha Operative and Labotel Workers villages, with a combined resident community of 25,000 workers.
Having successfully launched ‘Al Mareefa’ – a purpose-built mobile training bus that provides on-site training to all CBFM staff – in 2017, the company decided to extend this facility to all blue-collar workers resident at labour camps located throughout the UAE.
“As a company we believe that sustainability over the longer-term, involves actions that are good for business and society,” explained Ian Harfield, CEO of Cofely Besix Facility Management.
“Given the nature of our business and our ambition to be the leading FM company in the region, we created this initiative to target the largest sector of the UAE worker community who do not have sufficient education to move up in their careers, and no clear path to developing new skills within companies. Ultimately, our long-term aim is to reach at least 10% of the resident population within various residential villages in the UAE,” added Harfied.
The training was delivered within the mobile Al Mareefa Training Bus, a second-hand school bus that was renovated with a mini-theatre style seating, TV monitor and state of the art simulation panels for class-room type training delivery. The bus travels to the various labour camps, delivering training on topics such as maintenance of AC split units, PAT testing, fire & life safety devices, AC safety devices, electrical maintenance and refrigerant leak testing and repairing. The bus is also a totally self-supporting facility, therefore there is no need to connect to any of the resources at the camps especially for electricity.
The aim of the programme is to raise the level of awareness amongst blue-collar workers with core concepts from the FM body of knowledge, as well as to raise the confidence level amongst blue-collar workers to become skilled and raise themselves above their current limited-value roles that are easily replaced.
“The FM industry has grown exponentially over the last few decades however, a skills shortage is still a huge barrier to growth. By utilising one of our existing resources we are therefore able address a need within the local market to impart sustainable knowledge and skills which will hopefully transform their lives and that of their extended families,” concluded Harfield.
Plan are currently underway to include visits to local schools and visiting more remote areas in the UAE.