Terri Dale has been commended by HMRC for helping its sites to remain operational during the global pandemic, but getting to this point in her career hasn’t always been plain sailing.
At the age of 18 I was made redundant while on maternity leave – certainly not the best place to be from a personal or professional perspective.
I immediately began applying for numerous roles but without truly knowing what I wanted to do or who I wanted to work for. Fortunately I was quite soon able to secure a job as a parts administrator for a building services company.
Finding the turning point
I knew very little about the facilities management sector at this point but it was definitely the turning point of my career. When I started the role I put everything I had into learning new skills and finding out as much as possible about the industry and found myself increasingly intrigued. I was offered a variety of training opportunities, including the chance to complete an ILM Level 3 in Facilities Management, and this further extended my knowledge. Like many working parents, I often found myself struggling with the work / home life balance but I was determined to embrace the challenges I was given, in an industry that I quickly grew very fond of.
I have been extremely fortunate to have held roles with some significant companies throughout the course of my FM career. This has enabled me to further develop my skills and broaden my understanding of the industry. It hasn’t always been plain sailing but when I have faced obstacles, I have faced them head on and any mistakes I have made, I have been determined to learn from.
Changing my focus
In 2017 I made the decision to explore the client side of the sector and I joined security and defence company, QinetiQ as Property Operation Manager. Here, I was responsible for the delivery of total facilities management at the company headquarters in Farnborough, leading a large team that provided catering, cleaning, hard FM, portage, small works and postal services.
This ensured all employees were able to undertake business efficiently within a safe and secure environment. I built some fantastic relationships, learned a huge amount and enjoyed my time here immensely. However, after three years, I was ready for another challenge and keen to use the skills I had built client-side within a forward-thinking, reliable FM business.
When the opportunity to work for Wates arose I discovered that the two organisations hold very similar values, both being people focused and family orientated. It took courage to make the leap but I joined the facilities management team at Wates at the start of the year as an Account Director and began overseeing the business’ five year contract with HMRC.
Adapting in uncertain times
It’s safe to say the world has turned upside down since I started my role at Wates eight months ago. No one could never have envisaged the challenges the world was about to face and nor could we have prepared for them but we did have to try and operate as normally as we could and support our clients. Applying our resilience and determination to succeed as a team meant we were able to achieve some great things, despite the global pandemic taking place around us.
The HMRC account has grown fantastically in a very short period of time. We adopted business as usual as far as possible during lockdown and even managed to mobilise a number of new sites while implementing covid-19 measures. We have formed some great relationships in the process, enabling us to be more agile and adaptable underpinning our place as a trusted and respected partner. This has been critical to the success of the contract.
I didn’t intend on carving a career in the FM industry but I feel very fortunate to have arrived here. The opportunities, training and confidence I’ve received over the years have made me believe in myself and shown I have a lot to offer this industry. I’m proud of the journey I have been on and the challenges I’ve faced have helped shape my career. If I can inspire others to push themselves that would be incredible. Everybody deserves a chance, no matter their background or personal circumstances.
We have an exciting year ahead of us with HMRC. By building and developing a robust team and with the support of the wider Wates FM business, I am confident it will be a successful one.