Trailblazing the cleaning sector

4th of August 2021
Trailblazing the cleaning sector

Lynn Webster reports from the UK on initiatives seeking to raise the profile of the cleaning sector.

The opportunities to recognise the cleaning industry and its front-line employees have never been so great. It has been an ideal time to speak with clients about raising the profile of the cleaning teams; to consider reviewing the service levels to effectively be ‘cleaning for health’ and providing safe, hygienic spaces.

Raising the profile of cleaning, and specifically operatives has been championed by the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) with its strapline #Creating a Career in Cleaning but unfortunately the investment costs for some are cost prohibitive or they’re not a priority on their bottom line.

But in the words of lyricist Bob Dylan the times they are a changing!

Following the successful launch of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the UK Cleaning and Hygiene Industry, The British Cleaning Council (BCC) has set up a Trailblazer Group, including major companies with a balance of national organisations along with representation from SME’s and industry supporting stakeholders.

This will hopefully result in an accredited training provision in the format of an apprenticeship scheme for the sector. Which will allow those companies who pay into the Apprenticeship Levy to gain some return on their investment. The Apprenticeship Levy requires employers with an annual pay bill of more than €3.5 million put around 0.5 per cent towards it. BCC deputy chairman Jim Melvin, who is part of the trailblazer group, said: “There is an overwhelming need for an industry-wide training accreditation and apprenticeship.”

The benefit of an apprenticeship has not been open to cleaning operatives and their employers other than in a healthcare setting where there is maximum funding of €4,654. The healthcare cleaning operative may work in any establishment that requires cleaning to a healthcare standard. Beneficiaries other than in direct healthcare settings of hospitals and care homes include some specific educational settings; child care facilities plus some leisure environments.

The unrepresented, and major part of the cleaning and support services industry has no such framework. With the impact of cleaning pioneers and success of this BCC group we will slowly begin to have recognised the skills and professionalism of our industry.

Next challenge will be recognising the diverse skills, abilities and value of our supervisory and management teams. Opportunities to provided recognised training and certification for cleaning supervisors (BICSc Cleanlogic programme) and the development of ISSA’s Cleaning Supervisory Management Certification are demonstrating the importance of training and continuously developing skills and knowledge at this level.

And so, the journey continues to highlight a clear path for our career in cleaning. I am delighted to be part of the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners’ work towards recognising and maintaining high standards and ongoing proficiency at the senior level.

We will then be able to demonstrate our charter status alongside chartered colleagues in accountancy and finance, with formal credentials aligning our value as chartered environmental cleaning professionals.


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