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A PRICE WORTH PAYING


The British Cleaning Council’s Deputy Chair Paul Thrupp discusses the Apprenticeship Levy, and suggests the real cost to cleaning will be if the sector doesn’t support it.


The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy last April means that many businesses within the cleaning industry, who are required to pay the levy, now have a committed training and development budget which they can use to enhance the competencies and skills of their staff.


Proper use of the levy funds can provide an investment in workforce development whilst also enabling the adoption of best practice management techniques and unlocking a culture of innovation. It can also help spur firms on to find sustainable solutions for the future.


With proper planning, the levy funds can also be used to help underpin your entire future strategy for the development and success of both your business and, ultimately, the wider cleaning industry.


There are other benefits as well. Many employers across different industries point out how the apprenticeships create a ‘win win’ for the employer and employee.


This is based on the belief that staff are likely to stay ‘loyal’ to an employer who has invested in them, and where experienced colleagues have taken time out of their own busy work schedules to help them learn and develop.


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Of course, this means that they can learn on the job, rather than having to try and put into practice something they have been taught off-site. Also external training can often be based on hypothetical scenarios which bear little relation to the actual work you do, so the value is diminished.


“Many employers across different


industries point out how the apprenticeships create a ‘win win’ for the employer and employee.”


Further, it is well documented that investment in the skills and development of our teams results in increased productivity, less absence, fewer health and safety issues and an increased feeling of belonging. It improves and enriches company culture, improves wellbeing and boosts workplace morale.


There are a wide range of specific areas where apprenticeships can impact positively on the cleaning industry. These include health, safety and risk


management, hospitality, literacy and numeracy, and project management.


As an example, within the Federation of Window Cleaners who I also represent, we are currently exploring the options of a full window cleaning apprenticeship which includes not only the practical skills associated with the correct techniques for cleaning glass and other surfaces, but also includes knowledge, training and competency in a range of specialisms.


From risk assessments to working with telescopic poles, working at height to bookkeeping, PPE to pure water technology, the training programme we’re hoping to develop will be calibrated to meet the requirements of today’s window cleaning industry.


And if we get it right, the next generation of window cleaners will be equipped with the skills and experience required to enter full time work as the finished article, not a trainee.


Quite simply whether you are in the cleaning industry or not, and whether you must pay the Apprenticeship Levy or not, supporting the concept of apprenticeships is for me a genuine no-brainer.


Invest in your team now, and benefit for a long time in the future.


www.britishcleaningcouncil.org twitter.com/TomoCleaning


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