Fiona Clugston – Facilities Specialist at Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company Upskills at Portobello Institute
BSc (Hons) in Facilities & Workplace Management
Fiona Clugston from Lisburn, Northern Ireland is a Facilities Specialist at Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC) who upskilled with a BSc (Hons) in Facilities and Workplace Management at Portobello Institute, graduating with an Outstanding Achievement award.
Fiona started with CCHBC in 2007 and her career has gone from strength to strength moving through various roles until 2017 when she ‘fell in love’ with her Facilities Co-Ordinator role.
Her motivation to gain her degree in Facilities and Workplace Management came from her desire to bring expertise to her role.
“When I moved into the facilities role, I finally felt this was the role I was meant to do.
“However, I moved to a team where the experience and knowledge were leaving the business, so there was only enough time to learn the basics.
“I’m quite passionate about doing things to the best of my ability, so, I knew I wanted to learn as much as I could about facilities so I could develop the role in my own style.
“I began researching facilities courses and upon discovering all the different options, I knew there was an opportunity to learn and develop my knowledge and skills in facilities management,” she said.
Fiona is passionate about her career and her facilities role, and she followed her passion by gaining her IWFM Diploma Level 4 before moving on to her degree.
“From my research into facilities courses, I discovered the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management and the different qualifications suited to different roles within a facilities function.
“Once I had decided what level I wanted to study, I began researching options for studying with other fellow facilities professionals, I thought this was important for networking and knowledge sharing.
“Along with this research a list of institutes where that level could be studied was provided, I quickly noticed there were no options to study in Northern Ireland but there was one in Dublin at Portobello Institute.
“So, I enquired with Brandon McLean, who provided all the information I required to make my decision to study with Portobello.
“Beginning with the diploma was a good starting point for studying again and providing experience with facilities assignments.
“Progressing onto the degree programme was the natural ‘next step’ to further enhance my knowledge and skills in facilities management, allowing me to grow in confidence and experience.
“I love the challenges and rewards that come with working in facilities. Studying these courses with Portobello provided me with the confidence, knowledge and tools that I could use in my current role.
“The degree programme has further enhanced my knowledge of the importance and strategic role that facilities play within a business.
“I love problem-solving, learning new things and working with different internal and external stakeholders. The knowledge and experience I now have has empowered and improved my influencing and decision-making skills,” she said.
Looking back on her experience of studying while working, Fiona highly recommends Portobello Institute for flexibility, networking and our experienced, knowledgeable tutors.
“Being a student at Portobello Institute was a positive and rewarding experience. When assessments were due it was stressful at times, but the support, guidance and flexibility provided by the tutors and course support staff made completing the course manageable and achievable.
“If studying alongside working I would recommend Portobello Institute to a friend. The in-person induction day was good for getting a flavour of the college and its values and the team which supports learning behind the scenes.
“The tutors who taught the modules were approachable, knowledgeable and experienced in their subject field. There’s a flexible wide range of courses available in specific fields which other colleges don’t provide.
“The flexibility of blended learning, studying with other facilities professionals, experienced and knowledgeable tutors and a wide range of facilities course options” were the best benefits of choosing Portobello Institute according to Fiona.
At her graduation ceremony in November 2023, Fiona received an Outstanding Achievement award for her dedication, commitment and high standards throughout her time at Portobello Institute.
With her degree and award in hand, she is looking forward to a bright future ahead.
“I feel very happy and proud of my achievements.
“Within seven years of starting a role in facilities, I have completed two industry-recognised qualifications.
“Working alongside studying is a challenge, but it’s easier when you are passionate and enjoy the subject. Also, to achieve a first-class honour and be recognised for outstanding achievement makes the accomplishment even more rewarding.
“My academic achievements have also been congratulated and acknowledged at CCH, where I have been asked to lead several facilities-related projects for the business in 2024.
“A career in facilities is definitely for me, the qualifications I now have offer further opportunities and advantages for me should I wish to progress in my career outside my current role,” she said.
Portobello Institute offers a BSc (Hons) in Facilities & Workplace Management, Level 9 PGC Innovation for Sustainability in the Workplace, a Postgraduate Certificate in Facilities Management an MSc in Facilities & Workplace Management and IWFM courses across all levels.
If you are interested in any of our Facilities Management qualifications, you can book a consultation call with our expert FM advisor Janice O’Toole, email [email protected] or call 01 892 0035. Visit our Facilities Management department here.