The British Cleaning Council and members write monthly columns for both Cleaning and Maintenance and Tomorrow’s Cleaning magazines. You can read recent columns below.
Welcome to the Cleaning Show
By Jim Melvin, Chairman of the British Cleaning Council (BCC) (This article was first published in Tomorrow’s Cleaning in October)
I would like to wish attendees at this year’s Cleaning Show a truly warm welcome.
The cleaning and hygiene industry’s biggest and best trade show, which we co-produce with Quartz Business Media, is always a highlight of the calendar, but this year the excitement is of a different magnitude as this is the first physical Cleaning Show in more than two years.
It is fantastic to get the chance to attend the event in person and get together with colleagues face to face.
This is also an opportunity to celebrate the cleaning, hygiene and waste industry, and especially our workforce, after a truly difficult and tragic global period.
We are justifiably proud of how the sector’s staff stepped up during the Coronavirus pandemic and the bravery that was consistently demonstrated.
While personnel in other sectors could work from home during the lockdowns, cleaning and hygiene operatives went into work, putting themselves at risk to protect the health and well-being of others. Each and every one of us owes them a huge debt of thanks.
The show showcases innovations from the nation’s leading companies that will keep businesses, hospitals, schools and facilities safe as the UK recovers from the pandemic.
The free conference programme will allow attendees to hear from industry experts as they discuss the latest insights and technological developments, and consider the critical next steps for an industry that is on the frontline of public health and safety delivery.
I’ll be speaking there about the critical role of the industry’s new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in keeping cleaning and hygiene at the top of the political agenda.
Supported by just under 60 MPs, the APPG is dedicated to promoting the vital importance of the cleaning and hygiene industry and ensuring that, going forward, the sector’s voice will be heard at the highest levels.
It is vital that we maintain the APPG’s momentum and ensure its strategy results in demonstrable and tangible benefits for every member association and our fantastic teams.
Of course, the pandemic is a major theme of the conference programme with talks on the critical role of the cleaning industry post-pandemic and infection control in the workplace.
Another key theme is the role of technology in the future of cleaning. Sessions will look at how our industry now uses robotics and smart sensor technology and, separately, the rise of Co-Bots – robots designed to work with human staff.
Technology is also the theme of the session from our colleagues the Cleaning and Support Services Association (CSSA) and their Innovation Showcase.
Training is another key topic, with sessions from BCC Deputy Chair Delia Cannings on training opportunities, apprenticeships and funding while BCC member the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) will consider training and delivery styles for cleaning service providers.
Another key session will be the official launch of Chartered Practitioners in Environmental Cleaning by the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners, an exciting scheme which will help bring recognition to the industry and individuals.
Other highlights include:
- The Cleaning and Hygiene Suppliers Association (CHSA) focusing on the rise of unscrupulous traders in the sector in recent times.
- And the Federation of Window Cleaners (FWC) awards, which will see it hand prizes to the finalists of its national awards.
There are also useful sessions on sustainability, the Living Wage, which we are always keen to support, and insurance in the industry.
There’s plenty more to see in the show itself.
The CSSA Innovation Showcase will put the spotlight on the industry’s most innovative products, services and initiatives and is another highlight of the show.
The Window Cleaning World Cup and Guinness World Record Challenge returns.
And, for the first time, the show will feature a Window Cleaning and Carpet Cleaning Village, supported by the FWC.
My colleagues and I will be staffing the BCC stand. I hope to see you there.
CSSA Launch Clean Start Campaign
By Daniel Cross, CSSA Marketing Chair and UK Marketing Manager at Tennant Company (This article was first published in Cleaning and Maintenance in October)
Having only been in the cleaning industry a short seven years, I know first-hand the experience of entering a new industry. I was a primary school teacher before I joined Vaclensa in 2015 and had never even heard of a scrubber dryer.
Now I lead the UK marketing for Tennant Company, one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of professional cleaning machines, and am also the Chair of the CSSA Marketing Executive, the hub where our latest initiative ‘Clean Start’ was created.
I am still amazed at the cleaning industry. It constantly produces new innovations and it was a real eye opener for me when I first entered because there are so many brilliant opportunities available. People just don’t realise because they have a certain, and often negative, perception of what the cleaning industry is.
And that is exactly what the ‘Clean Start’ initiative aims to change; perceptions.
Far too many people outside the cleaning industry will immediately think of a person walking around with a mop and bucket when you suggest the idea of a career in cleaning, and this simply isn’t true.
Clean Start has two real points to its mission; to educate people outside the cleaning industry about the many different roles and career paths available, and to promote the cleaning industry as a real career choice.
We want to help people uncover these opportunities, whether they are school leavers, graduates, or professionals already in a career looking for a change within a new sector to them.
Of course cleaning operatives play a vital and leading role within the industry but we need to make people aware of the other exciting opportunities within cleaning and how they can develop into real careers.
As an example, right now within the cleaning industry robotics is a hot topic, and for that we need engineers, software developers, operators, technical support and office support. Right there we have highlighted key roles and career opportunities which are quite often completely disassociated with the cleaning industry, but they exist and offer a great opportunity for a rewarding career.
Other career paths available include, but are not limited to; sales, marketing, product development, HR, health and safety, logistics, accounting, IT and customer support.
The COVID pandemic has placed cleaning front and centre and, some would argue, given long overdue praise and recognition to our cleaning professionals.
Back in March 2020, the then Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn was taking part in Prime Minister’s Questions when Mr Corbyn praised the ‘unsung heroes’ of the public sector who ‘keep us safe’ during the outbreak.
Mr Corbyn added: “I’d like to pay special mention to one group that are hugely ignored, forgotten and decried as unskilled workers – cleaners. All around the country and in this building, (they) are doing their best to keep our places hygienic and safe. “
An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the cleaning and hygiene sector was inaugurated on Tuesday 2 February 2021.
A total of 53 MPs and three Members of the House of Lords joined the group, making it one of the bigger and most credible APPGs.
The CSSA has created a dedicated webpage for the Clean Start initiative and we are producing a variety of case studies to give readers an insight into some of these specific roles, as well as stories about people changing careers, entering the cleaning industry and new start-ups.
We are also planning a number of school visits around the UK to promote the industry and its career paths and to demonstrate to pupils the industry’s exciting innovations.
Clean Start will also have a presence at The Cleaning Show in London (2nd – 4th November) alongside the CSSA Innovation Showcase.