Government have recently decided to delay T-Level vocational courses until at least 2020 and a proposal for a Cleaning and Hygiene Operative NVQ Level 2 apprenticeship has also been rejected which means despite a huge challenge within the cleaning industry to close the skills gap, no training based route is available for young people within the sector.
Recent research indicated that 12% of cleaning companies struggle due to a lack of skilled staff and furthermore 68% of companies say that the skills issue is having an impact on their business and the potential consequences of this cannot be underestimated.
Lots of companies however are investing heavily in in-house training and external training courses and USS is no exception to this. At USS, all new starters are enrolled on a comprehensive training program, further training modules and on-site training is provided throughout the course of the year and an annual refresher training course is undertaken by all staff.
Figures show that across the industry 60% of staff receive training and this is a much improved percentage on years gone by and the cleaning sector scores above the national average for training investment within the commercial sector which may be surprising to some but more still needs to be done.
In conjunction with the industry’s in-house programmes, the British Cleaning Council recognises that there is only so much that can be delivered without vocational training and have introduced a programme called Level 35 which looks at how more young people can be introduced to the cleaning industry and a Creating a Career in Cleaning campaign whose aim it is to empower potential and existing cleaning operatives to attain their career aspirations.
Cleaners are rarely noticed and yet contribute so much to the health and wellbeing of staff and customers by helping to create a clean and hazard free environment and as with any other commercial business, promotional opportunities and managerial positions are there for the taking.
So let’s change perceptions of the industry, encourage young people to consider a career in cleaning and hope that the government realise the importance of vocational training within the cleaning sector.