National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF), one of the programs available to employers and industry via Australian Government Skills Connect, has helped the cleaning industry to upskill its workers to meet current skills needs and new directions in the industry.
NWDF has been used to fund two significant projects which have provided key upskilling opportunities for the industry.
In 2010, Construction & Property Services Industry Skills Council (CPSISC) commissioned a pilot study into the employment and training of women in the contract cleaning industry in NSW. As part of this study, CPSISC undertook an industry survey to a substantial number of cleaning contractors both large and small to identify their workforce development needs.
Both the survey and extensive consultations with the industry revealed a range of needs including the need for management skills for all supervisors, managers and potential managers. More formalised management training for potential management candidates in the industry was required to strengthen existing skills and develop areas of deficiency.
As a result of these findings, CPSISC worked with and assisted the industry association, the Building Services Contractors Association of Australia (BSCAA) in partnership with Lennox Institute (a leading Registered Training Organisation in the cleaning industry) to develop an application and apply for funding under NWDF.
The application was successful and funding was secured to provide training to 400 cleaning industry managers and potential managers in BSB51107 Diploma of Management contextualised to the specific needs f the cleaning industry.
Lennox Institute customised the program for the industry and through close liaison with the participating organisations, identified skills gaps and mapped these to units of competency within the qualification. Lennox Institute provided added value by delivering additional training in other areas of need such as presentation skills as part of the program.
Participants included supervisors, site managers and area managers from some ofAustralia’s largest facilities management companies. To date 325 cleaning managers and supervisors have enrolled in the program acrossAustraliaand the program is still filling.
Demand for sustainable cleaning methods
At the same time, over the past five years there has been increasing demand from property owners to use more sustainable cleaning methods. This new direction for the industry has evolved so that more sustainable cleaning practises are now standard requirements in all cleaning tenders. CPSISC worked with BSCAA in conjunction with Lennox Institute to address the increased demand for sustainable cleaning methods.
To do this CPSISC included three skill sets in sustainable cleaning practises in the cleaning operations qualifications to meet the needs of different workers within the industry:
- CPP07 Perform Environmentally Sustainable Cleaning Operations – focussed on cleaners in the industry to enable the performance of cleaning operations in an environmentally sustainable manner
- CPP07 Implement Environmentally Sustainable Cleaning Programs – focussed on experienced supervisors responsible for implementing environmentally sustainable cleaning programs
- CPP07 Develop and Implement Environmentally Sustainable Cleaning Programs – focussed on experienced senior managers and executives in the cleaning industry responsible for developing and implementing environmentally sustainable cleaning programs
Lennox Institute then developed its greenRcleanTM suit of programs to map to these new skills sets.
To assist cleaning organisations to access the new training programs CPSISC again worked with and assisted the BSCAA in partnership with Lennox Institute, to apply for funding under NWDF to deliver the new green cleaning skills sets to a range of organisations in the cleaning industry.
This funding application was also successful and to date 751 student places have been allocated across the three skill sets. One group of 40 participants from a large property services company have already completed the program which has provided additional skills for both cleaners and managers. Enrolments are well underway and currently there are workers undertaking training from 13 facility services organisations both small and large acrossAustralia.
Without NWDF funding organisations operating in the cleaning industry would have struggled to provide this training. As Terry Corby, national president BSCAA commented, “the cleaning industry recognises the importance of training both operators and management. The most significant impediment in a low margin industry is cost. CPSISC in conjunction with the BSCAA and Lennox have relieved some of the cost concerns with National Workforce Development Funding. I commend all involved and am excited by the effect this training will have on uplifting the industry’s skillset.”
Elaine Torode, CEO, Lennox Institute echoed Corby’s comments. “This industry operates on extremely tight margins which makes funding training extremely difficult without subsidies. The cost can become a barrier to organisations providing much needed training. For the first time, NWDF has made it possible for participating companies to begin to develop a leadership pipeline within their organisations as well as recognise and develop the skills of their workers to meet the demands of new directions in the industry and position these organisations to be competitive in the future.”
Cooments received by Lennox Institute from participants in the Diploma of Management program have highlighted the benefit that participants have received from the training including providing them with valuable management tools and resources which they have used to improve processes and systems in their organisations with the overall result being an increase in the professional skills within the industry.
For further information regarding funding opportunities available under Australian Government Skills Connect and National Workforce Development Fund, please contact: Sue Gibbens is Workforce Development Industry consultant CPSISC, www.cpsisc.com.au