It’s a distant memory for some, a life time for others, but 1989 was undoubtedly a momentous year, as in a quiet corner of Northampton an organisation formed that is, 25 years later, one of the cleaning Industry’s foremost awarding bodies.
Wamitab develops qualifications in cleaning, FM, resource management and recycling, from the operators on the ground right up to management levels. At its core is an ethical mind-set, dedicated to raising standards in the industry, and CEO Chris James says he’s hugely proud of the role they’ve played in changing the publics’ attitude to training and qualifications in the sector.
He shows me newspaper clippings from around the time they started offering qualifications for street cleaners, and they were almost all dismissive. Chris says; “even Jack Dee was poking fun at us with his joke that it was pretty easy to gain this new NVQ in street cleaning, you just pick it up as you go along!”
But they’re not laughing now, as professional qualifications and training have become an intrinsic part of the sector. Chris says; “even before I joined Wamitab as CEO I’d always admired the pioneering work they did, and along with Asset Skills they have been raising standards across the sector for many years. It’s incredible to think that just a few years ago these skills were a laughing matter, but not anymore.”
The latest service from Wamitab is Validate, launched this May it’s designed to take those in a job to the next level.
Chris says: “Validate does what it says on the tin, it validates competence. It’s made up of separate modules each of which can be taken on its own, or alongside others. There are no entry criteria for assessment and no set time for completion other than the time you and your employer can give it. You have to pass all skills in each module to be signed off. Some of the modules, such as health and safety, graffiti removal, street cleansing, control of biological spillage and litter picking are common to a number of schemes but we recognise that modules like refuse collection operations or skip operation are more specialised.”
A full version of this article appears in the BCC’s Summer newsletter The Voice