HEFMA's 2018 Annual Conference
- Wayne Millar, TEFMA President-Elect
HEFMA’s membership is based in Southern Africa and is one of TEFMA’s valued Strategic Partners. This article provides an account of my attendance at HEFMA’s 2018 annual conference which was held in Windhoek, Namibia, Southern Africa.
On the Sunday prior to the start of the annual conference I, together with representatives from AUDE (UK) and APPA (USA), were invited to make a presentation to HEFMA’s Board members on issues impacting our respective sectors and associations. Part of my presentation reflected back on the issues contained in the HEFMA, AUDE and APPA presentations that were made to our Board members in Perth a few months earlier.
The conference ran over three days and the chosen theme was ‘The 4th Industrial Revolution’ which was very relevant to how the higher education sector and FM providers need to change to meet the challenges of the future, including different knowledge and skills sets.
The delegate count was approximately 110 and their conference format is quite different to TEFMA's, with all delegates assembling in one room to listen to one presentation at a time.
On day one they relied heavily on pre-recorded presentations, including the official welcoming address and keynote address from the host VC who could not attend in person as he was called to a last minute meeting with the Namibian President.
Overall the presentations were as relevant to our Australasian sector as they were to the Southern African delegates and I came away thinking, that discounting the local political issues, how very closely aligned we are with the challenges and opportunities we face as facilities managers in our respective sectors.
On day three there was an interesting panel conversation around insourcing which turned out to be controversial and generated a number of very emotive responses from the floor by several of the delegates. It became clear to me that the issue of insourcing for many indigenous Southern Africans was more about the negative impact it was having on their ability to attain and/or maintain a social structure that supported human dignity than it was about efficiency and cost savings.
The formal programme ended after lunch on the Wednesday and the afternoon was dedicated to their AGM where they agreed to change their constitution to reduce the length of term for directors from three to two years. Their board membership was also changed with Vanessa Ranjit handing over the Presidency to Peter Peters as well as transitioning to a new President-Elect, Treasurer and Secretary.
The outcomes I came away with were:
A better understanding of the significant political issues that are having a dramatic impact on higher education, FM and individuals living in Southern Africa.
Some great memories of the people I interacted with during the conference including the way my wife and I were welcomed and the generosity that was extend to us.
An agreement by all Strategic Partners that there was a benefit in meeting more frequently to address issues of common strategic importance.
All Strategic Partners agreed to work together to make it easier for members from each other’s associations to access resources through our respective web sites.
Agreement to continue a discussion that would facilitate member’s attendance at each other’s conferences etc. at member rates.
Consider creating a TEFMA scholarship that would support one member to participate in AUDE’s new Aspiring Estate Director’s Summer School.
On the way to the conference my wife and I visited a 66 square kilometre national park in Zambia that is home to a herd of 9 endangered White Rhinos.
What you cannot see in this photo are the six heavily armed rangers whose sole responsibility is to protect this herd from poachers. The rangers have been given instructions from the government to shoot poachers on sight, so we made sure they knew we were coming!
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