Let’s get a Clean Start

Jim Melvin, Chairman of the British Cleaning Council (BCC) and Director of the Cleaning and Support Services Association (CSSA), explains why we should showcase our industry.

BCC member the CSSA has launched an exciting new initiative which is flying the flag for the cleaning, hygiene and waste industry.

Called ‘Clean Start’, the new scheme will inform and educate people working outside the industry about how interesting and fulfilling working within our sector can be and the diverse vocations, jobs and

roles that are available.

The aim is to encourage people from all walks of life, whether they’re a school or college leaver, a graduate or someone simply looking for a career change, to reimagine their future and career as a professional within our important and dynamic sector.

As our research report published in May showed, the cleaning, hygiene and waste industry is a huge sector, encompassing an incredible range of occupations.

The sector is worth £54.5bn and employs 1.47m people in occupations including property managers, waste disposal and environmental services, gardeners and landscape gardeners, pest control officers, caretakers, housekeepers, window cleaners, domestic, commercial, contract and industrial cleaning, with many also involved in the manufacture of products for the sector.

Businesses in our sector are reflecting the global rise of innovation and technology by adopting AI, automation and software developments – you only have to think about the surge in purchases within cleaning and hygiene of robotics and cobotics before and throughout the pandemic.

Our sector also has an important role to play in promoting sustainability, with many businesses focusing on more environmentally-friendly goods, products and processes. The cleaning industry has always been about making people’s lives cleaner, safer and healthier and creating a good environment for people to work and live in.

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However, over the past 18 months, as we are all too aware, the industry has also played a vital role in the fight against

COVID-19 and it is clear that there will almost certainly be a heightened demand for cleaning and hygiene services for years to come.

Yet, irrespective of all this, there remains some outside the sector who still perceive the industry to be low-skilled or even ‘exempt of skill’, as our teams complete their job when, in fact, our sector is incredibly exciting and full of innovation.

The Clean Start campaign is helping change these perceptions by showcasing the many exciting professional career paths available, as well as the variety of businesses and operations within the sector.

The CSSA has created a dedicated page on its website which will feature a range of free, downloadable case studies. One case study already compiled focuses on Mike McKiernan, a Senior Group Buyer for Jangro, who completed a degree in palaeobiology and evolution and now works in purchasing.

Mike says he loves the breadth and variety of what’s on offer in the cleaning, hygiene and waste industry. He works with each of Jangro’s 46 members, meaning one minute he can be focusing on the education sector and the next, he’s involved with catering.

Mitch Holmquest features in another case study, describing how he went from a warehouse operative to becoming a Robotics Demo Specialist with ICE, at the forefront of the cutting-edge technology which is transforming our industry.

There are a number of other fascinating case studies also on the website and I’d definitely recommend reading them.

The CSSA is looking for businesses and individuals within the cleaning industry, whether they are CSSA members or not, to support Clean Start. Please contact this email address for more information if you think your business, career path and role might make a good case study. Also, please promote #CSSACleanStart on social media and help spread the word about this fantastic industry of ours.

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