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Property Operations Manager - SPARK Schools Support - 2023

SPARK Schools

SPARK Schools

Customer Service, Operations
Gauteng, South Africa
Posted on Monday, August 7, 2023

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SPARK Schools is a social impact disruptor and is leading change in the education space through its network of affordable private schools. The SPARK Schools network provides transformational education innovation through Africa’s first blended learning model, which elevates student achievement and provides the tools teachers need to serve their students effectively.

The blended learning model, which combines classroom teaching and online instruction, allows teachers to anticipate student needs and equips schools to provide personalized education at an affordable cost. SPARK Schools is pioneering this transformative education model to ensure the accessibility of university and careers for all.

SPARK Schools is a high growth, mission and values-driven entrepreneurial organisation, operating 20 primary schools, 4 high schools and serving over 15,000 families in 2023. We are looking for dynamic people to join our team.

Purpose of Role:

The Property Operations Manager drives student achievement in the SPARK Schools network by ensuring SPARK Schools are serviced, maintained and operate efficiently and consistently. The Property Operations Managers leadership in the SPARK Schools network is integral to the SPARK Schools mission to create systemic change in South African education.

This is a position for a person who understands what it means to own their portfolio, who has a mature, realistic, understanding of their capabilities, and who has the confidence in their ability to deliver against demanding expectations.

The Property Operations Manager serves as the central point of contact for the management and administration of property, health, safety and security services delivery to schools. This role works closely with the Schools and Expansion teams.

Reports To: Chief Financial Officer (CFO)


  • Manage the SPARK Schools facilities - ensuring at all times that the facilities, our scholars and our staff are safe and secure, and that the facilities are well-maintained, attractive looking schools
    • Seek to continuously improve the full integrated facilities management system - in terms of their safety, security, look and feel, cost efficiency, long-term viability, carbon footprint, utilities management etc.
  • Maintain compliance with the relevant Occupational Health and Safety legislations, SANS standards, COIDA, educational standards (for example from Umalusi and or the relevant Provincial Education Departments - such as GDE and WCED) and any other applicable standards - across both internal operations and in terms of support from contractors
    • Full role of designated 16.2 for SPARK Schools.
    • Manage the annual independent Occupational Health and Safety audits of all schools
    • Implement repairs, maintenance and upgrades, timeously, to continuously improve compliance to the various legislations and best practice
    • Ensure that all schools maintain up-to-date documentation (onsite files and online drives), signage, equipment and certifications as per the relevant legislation
    • Track potential and upcoming changes to legislation that affects the facilities and the management thereof
    • Create, implement and maintain procedures in relation to Occupational Health and Safety.
    • Manage incidents and accidents within the workplace.
    • Ensure a compliance status with the department of labour, ensuring annual renewals for organizations letter of good standing
    • Manage and close out IOD’s for the workplace and reduce incidents and accidents, ensuring constant awareness is in place.
  • Drive strategic projects and capital upgrades for facilities that seek to enhance SPARKs business - for by improving the long-term suitability of the facilities to deliver quality learning at an affordable cost (for example - migrating from Eskom to solar energy; building in water redundancy at the schools, waste management etc)
  • Ensure that schools receive the required repairs and maintenance services from the Facilities and Health and Safety team members and contractors (covering their buildings, utilities, equipment, furniture, documentation and and health, safety and security services)
    • Establish, run and track a preventative maintenance programme to ensure that proactive maintenance reduces the likelihood of degradation of the schools
    • Track the service desk system to ensure that ad-hoc requests for repairs, maintenance, health, safety and security are resolved in a timely manner
      • Allocate tasks and requests to the appropriate Facilities Maintenance Staff, School Operations Manager and or external suppliers
      • Brief the relevant individuals and or service providers / ensure that this is done correctly by the Facilities Coordinators
      • Obtain and review quotes - multiple, if required, depending on the value of the work
      • Negotiate costs where possible
      • Schedule work with persons undertaking the work and school staff
      • Check the quality of the work completed
  • Continuously refine the facilities management service model - to ensure that it is effective and efficient as the school network grows
  • Build and maintain a network of credible suppliers/contractors to assist SPARK Schools with ongoing repairs and maintenance (for example, for plumbing, electrical work, civils, general repairs and maintenance)
    • Proactively identify skilled, experienced service providers in the various categories required to service Facilities
    • Manage suppliers of ad-hoc and recurring facilities related services - ensuring the standard of work is as per the required quality, supporting suppliers to grow with SPARK and tracking the long-term evolution of the suppliers performance
    • Ensure that all services are administered according to the service level agreements and service catalogue
    • Ensure suppliers, at all times, are managed through the appropriate legal and governance frameworks - for example with up-to-date documentation, SLAs, etc
  • Respond to and resolve facilities related emergencies (for example break-ins, issues that concern scholar safety, etc) - to return schools to service as quickly as possible
  • Maintain and improve security policies, practices, infrastructure and the like to ensure scholar, staff, infrastructure and assets safety for the network.
    • Manage and update procedures
    • Ensure infrastructure is secured and all safes, alarms, CCTV are fully functional.
    • Management of outsourced service providers with regards to guarding, off site monitoring and armed response.
    • Maintain strict access control management for all sites.
    • Keep up to date with legislation and ensure compliance with PSIRA.
  • Assist in the completion of various internal and external reports and documents - for example insurance claims, submissions to finance, internal reports for meetings, strategic project proposals for the board and so on required from time to time
  • Manage the internal facilities teams
    • Ensure the team is fully resourced and equipped as per their job requirements
    • Grow and develop team capability and skill-set
    • Encourage and motivate the team
    • Track team member performance and service to schools and work to continually improve service levels
  • Prepare and manage the Facilities budget
    • Seek opportunities to reduce spend, without compromising the parent and scholar experience, safety and security
    • Track ongoing expenditure to ensure that annual spend is in line with allocated budget
    • Identify alternative models for service delivery that could reduce costs
    • Negotiate costs down with network wide service providers
  • Maintain excellent relations with all stakeholders including all SPARK staff members, funders/financiers, contractors, municipal departments, councilors, regulators, neighbours, landlords, and so on.

Qualifications and Criteria:

The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications and criteria:

  • Relevant degree in Built Environment Studies or Business Management preferred
  • SAFMA Registered Professional preferred.
  • ITIL Foundation Level preferred.


  • 5 years minimum facilities management experience with a portfolio of commercial property assets.
  • Project management experience with knowledge of built environment, design, construction systems and related management advantageous.
  • Knowledge of compliance as well as Occupational Health and Safety Legislation essential

Skills and Mindset:

  • Strong leadership, organization, communication and relationship management skills.
  • Must have the ability to maintain existing client relationships and build new client relationships.
  • Willing to work after hours if and when required.
  • Ability to work under pressure, multitask and prioritise.
  • An assertive but tactful manner.
  • An organised and methodical approach.
  • The ability to work on strict deadlines and targets.
  • Good negotiation skills.
  • The ability to explain financial matters firmly and clearly.
  • Financial acumen
  • Administrative and computer skills.
  • Excellent work standard and ethics.
  • Ability to participate as a team member and achieve agreed objectives.
  • Self-motivated with a strong drive to deliver.
  • Able to problem solve.
  • Ability to handle difficult situations with tact, grace and style.
  • Must be results-oriented and able to work both independently and within a team environment.

Values: Service, Persistence, Achievement, Responsibility, Kindness

SPARK offers:

  • fair market linked remuneration
  • performance-based annual bonuses and increases
  • above average/good annual leave
  • life, disability and funeral cover
  • employee wellness support
  • educational support & study leave
  • individualised professional development, support and mentorship
  • employee discount on school fees
  • opportunities for career growth

Compensation: Commensurate with experience

Position Type: Permanent

Location: Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa

SPARK schools is an equal opportunities employer and preference will be given to candidates from designated groups with due consideration of the company’s Employment Equity goals and targets.

SPARK schools encourages persons with disabilities to apply.

SPARK Schools may expire the posting of this advertisement at their own discretion.

Kindly note that should you have not heard from us within two weeks of the closing date please consider your application unsuccessful.