Henry Cassin

Job Title: Facilities and Business Continuity ManagerHenryCassin
Organisation: LateRooms.com
BIFM Qualification achieved: BIFM Level 4 Certificate
BIFM Recognised Centre: Manchester College (MOL)

Executive Summary

  • How many people does your organisation employ in FM?
    230
  • Which market sector is your employer in?
    OTA (online travel agent) in the accommodation provider market of travel and tour ops.
  • What challenges does your organisation face?
    Repositioning the brand with a differentiated product offering to increase market share and profitability.

Interview with Henry Cassin

1.† How long have you worked in FM?
For over 6 years now in a full time position.

2.† What brought you into FM?
To be honest, getting into facilities management happened by accident whilst working for First Choice Holidays (who later became part of the TUI family).

I had been working in the contact centre environment for years and, as I progressed with the business and the site increased capacity to +400 heads, they had a requirement for someone locally to take responsibility for the premises. As I had always been seen as the ďgo toĒ person for the site, I was happy for the opportunity ...although I was required to wear 2 hats!

Over time, I became involved with managing contractors and implementing safe working systems, 3rd party service provider agreements and project managing refurbishments and office moves.

3.† What is your current role and what does it involve?
My current role is as Facilities and Business Continuity Manager, which I absolutely love! I came to LateRooms.com immediately after the closure of TUIís Manchester based contact centre when they transferred operations to the midlands. Moving to LateRooms.com was a natural progression, already part of the TUI family, and I had established a good understanding of TUIís preferred way of working, in particular the management of FM Ė a definite advantage.

During my +6 years with LateRooms.com, my remit has flexed up and down around the needs of the business. I have budget responsibility for FM at the Manchester office and until a couple of years ago, looked after the Singapore and Bangkok offices too. Each day is different but thatís what keeps me motivated and challenged. It also makes the job more interesting.

LateRooms.com occupies a managed office building, so my FM remit only extends to hard and soft services within our own demise, which can involve anything from drafting service specifications, completing service provider audits, organising routine maintenance or project managing office moves.

I am also responsible for of health & safety management and compliance, business continuity planning, which can be quite involved when change is a constant. Asset management for the purposes of providing business insurance, office move programs, updating the Company risk register, Corporate Social Responsibility Öand Iím also chair for the Charity Committee.

So, as I say, really quite varied but thatís what I like about it!

4.† Why did you choose to undertake a BIFM Qualification?
Having gained a lot of on-the-job practical experience, I chose to complete the BIFM qualification to put into some context what Iíve learned over the years, validating my approach as being the right one (or otherwise) and, to some degree, make me more credible in my chosen field of work.

5.† Which BIFM Qualification have you achieved?
I chose to complete the BIFM Level 4 Certificate as the course content seemed relevant based on my previous experience in FM and more suited to my learning needs for the organisation that Iím currently with.

6.† What were your main goals in taking the BIFM qualification?
Self-development mainly, although I have to admit that as a result of attaining the qualification, my confidence level has increased too. At the age of 47, I set myself some personal challenges for 2016, one of which was to achieve a BIFM qualification.

7.† What did you get out of studying for your qualification?
I found studying for the qualification really interesting, largely due to already having a vested interest in the subject. The course illustrated to me how facilities management can differ depending on a number of factors such as sector, organisational size, product or service provided and other aspects such as risk appetite and the services to be managed within the organisation.

Course content aside, the feeling of achievement when you receive your certificate cannot be ignored!

8.† What did you like most about studying the qualification?
For me it was being able to complete the course as a distance learning course, which allowed me to fit in study and submit my work around my own work and leisure commitments. Having my course tutor, or any of the other course delegates, at the end of the telephone or email was also reassuring to have.

I signed up to the course through the Manchester College (MOL), which also gave me access to their online library and was really helpful for referencing specific points in my assignments.

9.† In your own words, please express how you have found studying for the qualification and achieving the qualification has helped you how
I only gained the qualification in September this year, so itís a little early for me to say how it has helped me but what I will say is that gaining the qualification was a huge confidence boost and has pushed me into looking for my next role.

The course itself was presented in a logical, comprehensive way with the two classroom sessions clarifying specific content that the BIFM would be looking for in order to satisfy the learning criteria. The course tutor was (as you would expect) very knowledgeable but also supportive, engaging and generous in sharing his experiences and knowledge to underpin the learning.

The content and the time between submitting assignments was well paced and, although at times it was difficult to juggle ďthe day jobĒ and study, you find a way Öand itís worth it.

10.† What kind of training/qualifications do you expect to undergo in the future, and why?
I am already looking to complete another course in 2017. Yes, I expect it to challenge me just as much as the last but be equally rewarding.

Iím actively looking for a new role, one where Iíll have the opportunity to apply the course learning in its entirety, whereas, at the moment, I am somewhat limited in a managed building. I guess the role I take with a new organisation will dictate which course I choose to do next year.

Now Iím in the BIFM member family, itís my intention to capitalise on the networking and training resources available through the site, focus on my CPD and further develop my knowledge in specific subject areas.

11.† How have you put your learning into practice?
Every single day I refer back to the knowledge gained on the course, which serves as ďbest practiceĒ managing the various aspects of facilities management. There were some areas that I was not particularly well versed in such as CSR, but was completely bough into and have recently introduced to the business I work for.†

12.† What are your career ambitions?
In order for me to put the courseís entire learning into practice, I need to progress into a role with greater responsibility Ė perhaps with full responsibility for the operational running of commercial premises.†

13.† What advice would you give to someone about to undertake a BIFM qualification?
Go for it Ė the only thing stopping you is you!
Read and research the course criteria in sections and subscribe to relevant websites that will provide additional information, references or case studies Ė all of which will add to your learning experience and the assignments you submit.

14.† What has the achievement of a BIFM qualification done for your career?
Having only qualified a couple of months ago, itís a little too soon to say. Itís a good feeling to reference the course on your CV, and state that youíre a member of the BIFM.

Completing the course has given me a hunger for further self-development. CV now updated, I feel I am ready for a change, a more challenging role, and an opportunity with another organisation that will enable me progress and grow further.

15.† What other future challenges will your studies help you with?
Without doubt, the learning from the course has been invaluable in making me more assured in my decision making and thought processes.

Find out more about BIFM Qualifications

To find out more about the different levels and size of qualifications in facilities management that are available, click on the links below:

Contact us with any questions

If you have any queries about whatís right for you, where to study, and if youíre an employer, how the qualifications can work for your organisation, contact us at:

t: +44 (0) 1279 712651
e: qualifications@bifm.org.uk