As part of our Sector Spotlight on NHS Orkney, we have spoken to Mandy Ward, who is the Facilities Manager at Balfour Hospital. Mandy began her career in Hospitality before working as an office temp, which led her to NHS Orkney. She got a permanent role in the Finance Department, before moving into Estates where she was given the chance to develop her role and gain some work-based qualifications.
Can you describe a typical day as Facilities Manager?
My role is really varied. I have responsibility for managing non-clinical support services such as Catering, Domestic, Linen, Reception and Accommodation Services.
I need to ensure all teams have everything they need to work in a safe and happy environment whilst complying with all the legislation required in a busy healthcare facility. All of our non-clinical teams are essential to the running of the organisation and make a huge contribution to the patient experience.
How did you end up in your current role?
My background is in hospitality, mostly working in hotels and bars after finishing school. I did this for around 10 years with two young children.
I completed a European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) in 2004 and began temping in offices. I had the opportunity to temp for NHS Orkney’s Finance Department and from this I applied for the job of Finance Officer. I did this role for a year until I successfully applied for a job as Estates Administrator.
After five years with Estates I had the opportunity to develop my role to support the Head of Estates & Facilities with systems management. I began to work towards various work based qualifications in catering, nutrition and a degree in Facilities Management.
In 2015, I successfully applied for my current role and completed all of my qualifications in 2018.
What is the best thing about your job?
Working with all of the teams and seeing the results of their hard work and dedication. We get a lot of great feedback from patients and public about all of our services which is really rewarding.
As with any NHS Orkney staff member I am very proud to be part of such a wonderful organisation that means so much to our community.
What is the worst thing about your job?
There can be times when it becomes challenging and stressful, this is all part of the role and is manageable.
What skills do you need to be Facilities Manager?
Excellent communication skills and interpersonal skills.
You need to be able to cope under high pressure and have a strong understanding of how to effectively manage staff in a motivational way.
You need the ability to continuously multi-task and always think on your feet.
This role requires assertiveness and decisiveness which both require confidence.
What qualifications do you have?
Would you recommend a career in facilities management?
I would recommend this role as a career choice for those who have an interest in business management or non-clinical services.
There are many opportunities to join the NHS in the early stages of your education journey. We use the Estates & Facilities Education Pathways to fund work-based qualifications from SCQF all the way up to Masters Degree level. We also offer Modern Apprenticeships in the office environment as well as on the floor in the various support services roles which is a great starting point.
I love my job and I am very grateful for the opportunities I have been provided with in order to get to this level in my career with NHS Orkney.
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