Conestoga news

July 21, 2015 4:01 PM

Conestoga program receives international interest

Students in Conestoga’s Architecture - Project and Facility Management (APFM) degree program may have the opportunity to explore international co-op opportunities following a visit from Chris Craggs, managing director of the UK company McFarlane Telfer.

Craggs made a stop at the Cambridge campus in late June as part of a business and leisure trip to eastern Canada. Thanks to recent growth at his company, Craggs plans to attract international students for a variety of placement projects by targeting degree programs accredited by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA). Conestoga is the only institution in Canada that offers an APFM degree accredited by IFMA and only one of 16 institutions worldwide that offers the accredited APFM 4-year undergraduate degree. Craggs noted that Conestoga was specifically mentioned to him by IFMA officials during a conference earlier this year.

During his visit to the Cambridge campus Craggs had the opportunity to sit in on a third-year APFM course and listen to student project presentations. “I was impressed with the depth of the research and the confidence of the presentations. I enjoyed a further 30 minutes or so with a number of students, explaining who we are, our plans and some of our opportunities,” said Craggs.

Established in 1992, McFarlane Telfer specializes in the service and maintenance of commercial kitchen equipment for the corporate, education, healthcare and public sector industries. Clients include the Bank of England, BMW, American Express, Canon and KPMG, among others. McFarlane Telfer also holds a Royal Warrant (appointed to those who have established an ongoing trading arrangement with the royal households) for the work it has performed at the London palaces and Windsor Castle since 1999.

The company now has a staff of 70 and operates a sister business that opened in Dubai in 2014. Thanks to its expansion and growth, which Craggs credits to the company’s investment in people and training, there is now opportunity for student summer placements and graduate recruitment.

This summer the company secured three student placements from universities in the UK and Netherlands to work on a variety of projects, but hopes to increase that to six students in 2016: two from North America, two from Europe and two from the UK. Craggs stresses that he needs “bright minds working on useful projects”.

“Our ultimate ambition is that students enjoy their time with us during their placements and want to come back and join us after graduation,” said Craggs. We work hard to create an environment where people want to stick around.” Craggs and his colleagues have expressed interest in continuing discussions with Conestoga and its students about the possibility of filling placements.

Nadira De Silva, a third-year APFM student, said students were excited when they heard Craggs would be visiting because of the international exposure it would bring to the program. De Silva had a chance to speak with Craggs about McFarlane Telfer during his visit and was intrigued by the company’s innovation and use of cloud-based services to manage offices in both the UK and Dubai. “I would definitely consider a co-op placement in the UK,” said De Silva. “Our program offers transferable skills. Opportunities like this will make students even more diverse because we have the chance to learn international laws. It will help prepare us for the global economy.”

Conestoga’s APFM degree program focuses on the architectural process from design phase through to occupancy and redesign/re-use. Students gain strong foundations in architecture, construction, basic engineering and business; comprehensive insight into project and facility management and have additional exposure to liberal arts and practical applications for business enterprise. For more information, visit the program page