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 Training&Education The importance of training

The cleaning industry is worth £8 billion to the UK economy and employs approximately 446,000 people. It provides a vital service to all, ensuring our workplaces, hospitals, schools, transport and public spaces are clean and pleasant to use. Julie Freemantle, head of training at Asset Skills Training, explains the importance of training within this vast sector, the role highly skilled cleaners’ play in the workforce, and the exciting career paths open to all.

standards. As in any industry, the impor- tance of training in the cleaning industry can be dismissed as an unnecessary cost. Employing low skilled workers as cleaners can cause additional expenditure and, in the longer term, incur sick pay or legal costs in extreme cases. Cleaning should be considered a technical skill and profes- sional training is vital to performing safely whilstmaintaining standards and promot- ing sustainability and best practice within the workplace. At company level, the immediate and

long-termimpact would be amore reliable and effective workforce, increasing produc- tivity. At a personal level, operatives with newly acquired skills experience increased confidence,motivation andmorale, which improve performance. Let us look then at the net results. Firstly,

Maintaining a cleaning teamcan take up valuable time and drain resources from your growing business. Providing your su- pervisors with the appropriate training and knowledge allows you to focus on your cus- tomers and work effectively and efficiently, while knowing that your business will be clean and cared for. Effective time and staffmanagement

using one to onemeetings are two of the modules taught on the Asset Skills Training Cleaning Diploma. The training group is given a structure to use for one to one meetings, encouraging staff to focus on ob- jectives whilst assuming responsibility for achieving them. Carol Henry, supervisor at GSPlus Ltd,

used the structure for a one to onemeeting with amember of staff who wasn’t per- forming in her role. The structure enabled her to focus on the performance issue and discuss in a constructive way. At the begin- ning of themeeting, themember of staff was quite upset and previously would have been difficult tomanage. However, by fol- lowing the structure, Carol Henry was able to calmthe staffmember down, discuss objectives, clarify next steps, and offer help in achieving the objectives. It gave her a positive way to handle the situation and she now feels confident in using this in future one to onemeetings with her team. Cleaning supervisors are in very reactive

roles and timemanagement often proves difficult. Carol Henry found the training helped her focus on the priorities and de- sired results when planning tasks. This has helped her put together a week plan, which has prioritised the important tasks and gives hermore reactive time to deal with people issues when they arise.


Some companies use untrained cleaners to savemoney but this policy can compromise

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a trained cleaning operative will bemore productive and achieve better results.With greater efficiency, your premises will be thoroughly cleaned in less time and to high hygiene standards. Training is also an excellent way to keep

pace with changes in legislation. Familiarity with new developments and techniques, plus compliance with procedures and regu- lations, is now essential to remaining com- petitive. Training is themost stimulating way tomeet andmaster these new chal- lenges and to stay on top of the game. Training shares good habits among staff

and encourages higher performance. An employee who has attended training can subsequently share their knowledge and set the standard for their colleagues. Focused training can pay for itselfmany

times over by boosting efficiency andmain- taining higher standards of cleanliness. With consistency in results throughout the workforce and a positive impact on em- ployee health andmorale, training under- pins the bottomline and a company's solid reputation.

Job opportunities

Cleaners forman essential full or part time workforce and there are some excellent op- portunities for all. Entrepreneursmay wish to start their own business. Regardless of age, opportunities abound, with rewarding careers inmanagement and/or supervisory roles. Cleaning offers young people a skill based career path theymay not have con- sidered whilst at school. Cleaning careers can embrace infection control at hospitals and forensic cleaning of crime scenes to specialist cleaning of tourist landmarks. There are no formal entry requirements

and, once a person has secured a post, there are a range of training options avail- able leading to promotion, higher earnings, and even entrepreneurialism. Finally, with UK cleaning at a respected

professional level, the gateway for career opportunities in other EU countries brings its own incentive, not just to the individual but also to European operations andmulti- national companies. An efficient and cohesive workplace is all

about building themorale and productivity of your employees. Employers need to think about how to empower cleaning operatives on the frontline and give themthe current tools of their profession.

A cleaning company’s view

Doug Cooke, chief executive at Principle Cleaning, believes fervently in investment in his staff and explains the importance of training.

Our employees embrace company values and we believe in treating everyone justly and fairly. Performance based recognition, extensive training, and opportunities for advancement all result in greater productivity and service longevity. Our clients benefit. Angelica Martinez works for Principle Cleaning and supervises 22 staff and 250,000 square foot of the Lloyds

building in London. She took the Asset Skills Training Management Diploma in Cleaning and felt strongly that it progressed her career and won her awards. She said: “The course taught me how to react in everyday situations you encounter whilst at work. How to think, then act, and be confident you are doing your job properly and main- taining best practice at work. It opened my eyes to health and safety issues and profits, something I hadn’t thought of before - how to work more efficiently and produce less waste. Since taking the course, I have been given more responsibility at work. I have been promoted to daytime manager and now manage 22 staff. In addi- tion to self-improvement, there has been a noticeable increase in morale and motivation amongst the team I work with.”

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