Versatile online training raises standards worldwide, says BICSc

14th of December 2022
Versatile online training raises standards worldwide, says BICSc

The professional cleaning sector is seeing a significant trend towards more versatile virtual training, which is driving improvements in standards worldwide. Neil Spencer-Cook, chief operating officer at training provider the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) tells us more.  

The growth in digital courses, accelerated by the pandemic, is playing a pivotal part in improving education and efficiencies, as it allows cleaning operatives to expand their knowledge and skill set, wherever in the world they are, or their work commitments.

At the forefront of this training trend is the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) with its offering of online options for the sector and has witnessed rapid growth in the uptake of online courses industry-wide.

The organisation acknowledges how the pandemic has accelerated the growth of virtual education within the cleaning community and fast-tracked the training trend which is helping to revolutionise training in the professional cleaning sector.

BICSc is expanding its range of digital courses, which offer greater flexibility for cleaning operatives, efficiencies for businesses, as well as bringing sustainability benefits.

Virtue of virtual

Neil Spencer-Cook, chief operating officer, highlighted how offering online options is helping cleaning operatives access expert-led training that works around their lifestyle, shift patterns and helps enlist enrolments.

He said: “Switching to online digital courses is helping to transform the training landscape and the benefits are multiple for candidates, allowing them to learn at their own pace and plan their personalised training sessions around their work and lifestyle. Businesses benefit because online options eliminate the need for candidates to be taken out of the workplace for substantial periods of time to complete training courses.

“Training that is accessible for all is at the core of what BICSc strives for and we are proud to be leading the charge on this training transformation and be able to offer such a comprehensive collection of digital courses.”

Since launching the BICSc Virtual Training Suite just over a year ago, it has had an unprecedented level of enrolment with candidates registering for a range of comprehensive and complimentary courses offered online.

Spencer-Cook revealed since extensively enhancing its online offering of digital training courses, BICSc has had more than 17,000 enrolments across Europe and internationally, demonstrating the rapidly rising requirement for digital training.

“That thousands of cleaning operatives are signing up for online courses reflects the importance of tailored training options within the sector. It is important to offer virtual options as some cleaning operatives might be joining the industry for the first time or may not have been in a formal learning environment for a long time.

“Conducting courses online means training can be adapted accordingly, with the added flexibility for candidates to revisit course content.

“This means they can go over the training more than once and crucially learn at their own pace. Therefore, the training can be tailored to how they learn best. Another key consideration is that the operative can also view training demonstrations with a colleague or supervisor, or someone else within their organisation, who can give them a different perspective on what they are viewing.

“They can do that without potentially feeling intimidated in a classroom-style setting or being self-conscious or apprehensive about being in a group session. Virtual training is also about having greater accessibility to learning and training, which can be viewed via mobile phones or devices. Candidates can view training sessions in the comfort of their own home in a more relaxed environment, which can also have a positive impact on the overall learning process.”

Sustainability and business benefits of online

As the world continues to combat climate change impacts, sustainability is top of the agenda within numerous sectors including the professional cleaning community.

From a sustainability standpoint and environmental efforts to minimise carbon footprint, virtual training ticks multiple eco-friendly boxes.

The environmental benefit of online learning includes a significant reduction in paper used as there is no need for printouts, participant candidate badges plus the need to travel to and from designated training centres is eliminated.

And no travel brings benefits for businesses who would ordinarily be losing their cleaning operative from work operations for a significant period of time to complete courses.

Tailored training online reduces carbon footprint, removes the need for energy consumption to heat or light a training venue as well as greatly reducing the need to use any cleaning chemicals used for in-person training demonstrations.

BICSc highlighted how training demonstrations are limited to filming a session once, which can then be accessed online by candidates, rather than them having to be done multiple times in front of trainees attending courses in person. Via virtual the candidate can watch demonstration videos as many times as they want with no impact on sustainability.

Spencer-Cook added: “We are thrilled to have such an amazingly positive response to the virtual training we offer, which covers an array of informative, engaging, educational courses.

“We still have a training centre, which we do use, and we do face-to-face sessions when requested, however from a sustainability point we are not heating, lighting a building on a regular basis. There are fewer miles covered as virtual training negates the need for travel to a training centre, helping to further reduce carbon footprint.

“For companies that are trying to be more sustainable and improve their green credentials, the option of virtual training for their employees ticks that box and contributes to their environmental efforts.

“In addition to this the candidates or companies are not having to pay to get the candidates to a training venue or to pay for a trainer to visit the candidates.”

Future training trends

When BICSc introduced its Virtual Training Suite it could not have been anticipated how phenomenally popular the online offering would prove to be.

Spencer-Cook revealed: “Adding the skills selection of courses online has further boosted interest in virtual training. The pandemic accelerated things particularly at the start. Now, the pandemic no longer means we cannot conduct training face-to-face, however, the virtual offering is proving
so popular.

“We had anticipated that at one point we might achieve, by the end of this year, a ratio of 50/50 face-to-face versus virtual training. However, within the first quarter of this year we were already at a rate of 68 per cent of training delivered virtually, with in the region of 90 per cent of requests relating to virtual courses, reflecting the growing trend industry-wide.

“Introducing the Supervisor’s Certificate course online is proving to be another huge area of growth for us as it is a course that has been missing from the industry for some time.”

Face to face still needed

Looking ahead, BICSc does not foresee virtual training will ever eliminate the need for traditional training face-to-face. Rather it will enhance and elevate the growth of training options available for cleaning operatives working within the professional cleaning sector.

Spencer-Cook explained: “There are still people who prefer training face-to-face. So while we are not seeing the demise of in-person training - there will always be a requirement for that option - we continue to see a significant shift and huge growth in virtual training.

“BICSc will always have trainers available for those who require a face-to-face option and will continue to enhance our online offering for those who want to utilise virtual training courses, which also ensures greater standardisation across the sector as all candidates are accessing the same standard of training.

“Virtual training means there won’t be trainer variation or interpretations of training variations, the demonstrations are the same every time with all candidates accessing the same online courses and content.”

BICSc is also offering free courses for candidates to access. An associated app is in development and there is a new NHS course online, with the aim being to more complimentary courses this year.

As requirements evolve within the cleaning community BICSc continues to update content online and will roll together courses so they are skills specific as well as being applicable to the whole workplace.

Spencer-Cook concluded: “With 80 to 90 per cent of requests we receive being for virtual training it is a trend that is clearly here to stay. The more choice we give people, the more freedom they have to undertake the training in their way.”

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