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«People Matter: A hermeneutic exploration of reflective practice and facilities management Melanie Bull A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of ...»

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My current role at the moment as I said, is Operations and Projects Manager for Hotel Services which has two main different elements. I oversee and manage the transport department, which is non-patient transport, and they do GP runs and specimen collections from GP surgeries and mail runs. They service hospitals in waste collections, linen drops, supplies drops and provide generally non-patient transport services for the entire Trust. Then the other side of it I also have the very envious task of managing car parking and central operations team for hotel services. You can imagine how car parking – very, very, emotive subject with people, very confrontational, lots of complaint letters, lots of messing about, lots of arguments and it is quite a challenge and I quite enjoy it.

Then the other part of that is that I look after the Central Operations Team which is the team that reports to the Hotel Services Director and we do all general sort of site survey report function, returns, it is not PEAT any more but place assessments as it is now known and just general statistics for him, monthly newsletters for example, age profiles, any projects for the hotel services we go out there and we will do.

Synopsis, observations and reflections on The Enforcer Probably one of the more traditionally educated (to A level standard), aided into FM through his mother working for the NHS, and he soon progressed through the ranks and has the desire to keep progressing and learning. He comes across as quite career driven.

He evidenced his use of reflective practice throughout and also how he managed reflection. He has recognised with more tricky situations that he prefers to reflect on paper to get the thoughts down and then to revisit his thinking.

He has a passion for learning, but also for understanding emotional responses and has recognised the improvement in this area. He sees a real benefit to reflective practice, but recognises that not everyone likes it or wants to engage with it. His view is “don’t reflect, don’t learn!” and that reflective practice enables rational decision making. This was again an open and honest interview, and the passion for the industry as a whole and the need for continuous development was clearly articulated.

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I was in High School, I missed out on going to Grammar School which was a bit of a blow because most of my friends ended up going to Grammar School. So I stayed behind at High School as it was then, the old system, and I think that caused me to dip a little bit. I didn’t enjoy school from that point for probably the last three years. I think I needed a kick up the backside from my dad. My mum and dad were divorced, so they both had their own lives and didn’t give me the kick I needed. Basically, I was lazy if I am honest. I ended up leaving school with one O Level in English and I think three or four CSEs at Level Two. Not terrible, but not great. Prior to that, my last year of school, my stepfather did many things to dip his hand into all sorts of things to earn money. He started doing some signwriting so I spent the last year of school doing a signwriting course at Night School with my stepdad, just for something to do and I started enjoying it. While I was there, the college where we did it, the Head Lecturer was the Head Lecturer for the painting and decorating college and he said you have a bit of an eye for this sort of thing, what are you doing when you leave school? And I said ‘I haven’t got a clue. I am not doing very well and I want to start working and earn some money as soon as possible’. That is basically where I was at. So he said come for an interview at the college – I think this was in the February before we finished school in March/April. I passed the interview and then they gave you a placement. So I went into the process of getting the placement to become a painter and decorator, not that I had wanted to become a painter and decorator but it just basically happened. I left school on the Wednesday, my dad worked at a place as a manager in a warehouse and got me a job to cover me for three days while I started on.... I had an interview on the Saturday with a local self-employed guy who was going to take me on as an apprentice, so I spent three days collecting waste paper with two guys and going round various factories getting big chunks of cake while we were putting cardboard into the back of the wagon. It was great. So I had an interview on the Saturday at home with the self-employed painter and decorator, he liked me. We got on really well straight away and he said I could start on Monday morning. So I basically started work on the Monday morning, painting and decorating throughout the summer and then started my college in September. I spent three years doing a City and Guilds and Advanced Crafts City and Guilds in Painting and Decorating, which I really took to and I found my hand at it and not blowing my own trumpet, but I am pretty good at it.

I spent three years doing my apprenticeship and an extra year with him and then he went into financial problems so he had to let me go. In-between times I still had connections at college and they got me an interview with a local company, [a bakery], who have a maintenance department. I got released on the Friday, had an interview on the Monday, got the job and then started work the following Monday. So I was out of work for a week which was terrible.

Week off work! Went to [the] Bakery; that was a great experience because I was trying my hands at all sorts of things from – for three months at the end of the year, they didn’t want you in any of the shops doing the decorating, external or internal. So we used to help out in the factory, doing the factory maintenance work and would end up doing some welding, doing mechanical work on ovens.

I sort of turned my hand into all sorts of other bits and bobs – not getting a trade as such – but you become a little bit more multi-skilled. I did that for seven years, met my wife there, she worked in the wages department, and then her brother worked in the laundry within an NHS Trust and he said there is a job coming available in the Painting and Decorating department at the Estates. He didn’t think I had the qualifications but it turned out I did. You needed an Advanced Craft City and Guilds. So I applied for that. I also had an interview for that and I got that job. So, I had three interviews and I got three jobs so I was doing okay. I got that post and I started work there in 1994 in the Maintenance Department, painting and decorating. There was a group of seven of us and that is basically what I did for the next fifteen years – painting and decorating in the Maintenance Department. In-between that time we had an internal sign maker who makes all the signs for [the Trust’s] Hospitals and when we took over [another] Hospital. So he did all three internal sites and some extra clinic works as well. Because I had done my sign writing exams prior to leaving school, whenever he was on holiday they wanted me to go in and cover, but it wasn’t just about sign writing, they had an engraving machine and they had a vinyl machine. My IT skills were next to none and so I had to go on various internal courses for my IT. So I did that and then we went on some courses to Bristol to learn how to work the machinery and then I basically covered when he was off or when he was sick. Then five years ago, six years ago, he retired and the post came up available. Now, it wasn’t an upgrade in pay because we were on the same grade, but it was more interesting and you could run your own job and you were sort of your own boss as it was. Nobody else in the place knew how to do it apart from [one other person] and myself, so it was in their interest to move me into the role. I was really lucky because a year after when we became a Foundation Trust, they weren’t allowed to do that anymore – you had to have interviews and they had to go down proper channels. But I got moved across and I became a sign maker. I spent two years doing that – fantastic – I used to go round all the sites, get involved in meetings with higher personnel from management corridor basically, of what they wanted – project guys in Capital, all project works- doing all signage for that and then basically all ward signage. I was meeting Sisters, Heads of Departments – so it stood me in good stead and I got a good background of knowledge on meetings and meeting people higher up.

In-between that time, the supervisor who had been there thirty years – the Building Supervisor – because we were split into Building, Mechanical and Electrical – the Building Supervisor retired so the post became available. I must admit, my boss, who was the Estates Manager, sort of put my arm up my back because I didn’t put in for an application form. I was like, sort of ‘do I want to do that or don’t I want to do that?’.’ Do I really need the hassle?’ Because it wasn’t a vast jump in money, although it was okay and it was a case of you move into that role and you don’t get any more overtime, so it levelled itself out. As well as the college issues behind it and not being to college before, that was a really daunting prospect. But he came and sort of put my arm up my back to go and get the application form. So like six or seven internals put in for it and I put in

for it as well then. I had an interview and was successful in getting that role. (M:

Fourth interview, fourth job) That was pretty difficult if I am honest because I went from being one of the guys on the shop floor to then being basically their first Line Manager. They were great and didn’t have any issues with the guys, they were great; they were brilliant. From my point of view, I found it difficult to be in charge of them. Because we have got a good bunch if I am honest, there are one or two, but in general they are a good bunch. So I started my role and I put it on my own back as it were, to go down to [the] College and sort out my own courses, get the information, go and enrol myself, put that to the Management and the prices they basically paid the money for me to go on the Course. So I did all that myself, so I enrolled myself on the Course and didn’t know what to expect and spent two months panicking once I got there after doing the first session. I can remember standing in [my boss’s] office and saying ‘I think I have gone a bridge too far here. I think I am going to have to pack in’. Real panic stations – my mathematical and analytical side- really struggled at school, terrible. I had a realisation that we were working to A Level plus and beyond in Applied Maths. There were five modules to do; extremely difficult, so I thought that is it, I can’t do it. And he sat down and he said look, my maths were terrible when I did my Degree and I struggled like hell. He gave me a little maths book and he told me to go and read that. I went home and my mum came round and smacked me on the back of my head, if I am honest. I was in melt down and she picked local Free Press up and got an ad for a guy who was doing Maths lessons. So I rang him up and went round to his house and it was a really old Victorian area – a bit like Harry Potter’s house. He looked like bloody Dumbledore and frightened me to death! I went inside and his wife made me a cup of tea and we went into this back room and I think I paid £35 for an hour’s session and I was there two and a half hours and he didn’t take any more than £35 off me. In two and a half hours I learned more than two and a half years at school. I am not just saying that. It was unbelievable, it just clicked, it just went in. All we did was basic algebra, basic trigonometry and transposing, that is all we did which were the main areas I needed for the work. I went away and flew through my HNC. So I got my HNC out of the way and then became another quandary – what do I do now? Do I move forward, do I just sack it and that is me – I will be a supervisor with my HNC and that is all they required. I thought no, I want to move on a little bit if possible. I had done my HNC because I needed it for the post and they had paid for that. I was unsure about whether they would pay any further and so I went to see [my boss] and I put forward to him that I wanted to do a Degree but I didn’t know in what. Did I move forward technically in construction, either into surveying or quantity surveying or project management? I didn’t want to pigeon hole myself. That is how I thought I would become and I didn’t want to end up on a building site because I had come from that. Even though I would be on more money, I didn’t want to go –and if I had gone down that route, that is where it is pushing you if you move away from estates management. So I looked on the internet myself and this facilities management came up and I sat back - cos we don't actually class.. our bosses at the time, they are still, if I am honest, don’t see it as a speciality, my bosses. They still see the strict engineering, construction, building, electrical. But I thought no and I read up on it from your website and I thought that is what we actually do, that is what I am actually doing in a sense. We encompass this facilities management as it is.

So I sent an email in and then [one of your colleagues] emailed me back and then I rang him one night when I was at home and I spent about three quarters of an hour on the phone with him, talking to this really enthusiastic guy who is giving me more passion and enthusiasm than I have had from anybody else in the past four or five years. Really, really, good interview on the phone that he did with me. I thought yes, this is it; that is what I want to do. So I organised then myself to come and have an interview with [your colleague] here, brought some of my work that I had done with my HNC that I thought might be relevant

- management principles, construction law, etc. I brought them in and he said he thought I would be okay to come on the course, my work were really good – that sort of way. That is basically how I got into it and I have really enjoyed it.

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