BCC and member columns in the news

The British Cleaning Council and members write monthly columns for both Cleaning and Maintenance and Tomorrow’s Cleaning. You can read recent columns below.

To read the columns as they originally appeared, please visit https://cleaningmag.com/columnists and https://www.tomorrowscleaning.com/back-issues

Could you apply for the Chartered Practitioners Register?

By Jim Melvin, Chairman of the British Cleaning Council (BCC). (This article was first published in Tomorrow’s Cleaning in May).

I was truly honoured to be installed as Master of the venerable Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners (WCEC) last month.

As I look ahead to my year, it is clear that supporting the growth and development of the Chartered Practitioners Register (CPR) is going to be a key priority.

The granting of the Royal Charter in 2021 was an historic day for the WCEC and something which colleagues at the company worked hard to achieve.

Suitable candidates are awarded the status of Chartered Practitioner in Environmental Cleaning and entered into the register. Recipients can use the letters ‘C Env Cln’ after their name.

It is an indicator of the highest levels of excellence, achievement and commitment to the industry.

Recipients have to demonstrate in-depth knowledge, experience and expertise at the highest level of professionalism.

The award isn’t just for WCEC members but is open to anyone who fulfils the entry criteria and I would urge you to take up this excellent opportunity!

Applications are welcome from all areas of the environmental cleaning industry including for, example, those working in pest control, along with window, carpet and building cleaning, and in a wide range of roles in the industry such as human resources, legal services, procurement, manufacturing, research, staff operative training, and management to name a few.

There are a huge number of senior and/or experienced industry members with years of expertise behind them who could qualify for, and would benefit from, this kind of formal recognition.

If this sounds like you, please consider applying. Why not find out more by attending one of the upcoming online workshops about the CPR registration process, submission and awards?

They take place on:
• Wednesday 7th June
• Wednesday 13th September
• Wednesday 11th October

You can find more by contacting CPR@wc-ec.com. Not only would this award be a feather in your cap, more staff achieving recognition for their expertise and experience benefits our industry as well.

The creation of the CPR scheme, combined with the ongoing development of the Apprenticeship Standard, are essential for the cleaning and hygiene industry going forward.

Achieving Chartered Environmental Cleaner status puts our industry on a par with chartered engineers, accountants and similar professions.

Together with the Apprenticeship Standard, which the BCC has championed, it puts the industry on a more professional footing with a clear career path which will help to attract the pipeline of new talent to the industry that is urgently needed to address the severe staff shortages we still face.

Together, they will help raise awareness outside the industry of the skill, professional and vital role of the cleaning sector and its staff, helping address incorrectly held ideas that the work of cleaning operatives is low-skilled or lacking in skill.

I have written in this column before about the importance of the Apprenticeship-levy funded industry-wide Apprenticeship and training programme.

We have made huge progress on this although the process has been much more lengthy and challenging than we could have expected.

The Apprenticeship Standard bid is being considered by the awarding body and we very much hope for good news on that soon.

On another note, I want to again sincerely thank everyone who has so far supported our lobbying campaign to make cleaning and hygiene a national priority.

If you haven’t already downloaded a letter from the BCC website to send to you MP in support of the recommendations of the sector’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), please lend us your support.

Show you care for your industry and help make its voice heard – it will only take a few moments of your time.

For more, visit https://britishcleaningcouncil.org/2023/02/06/download-letter-here/

Why training matters in the waste management sector

By Nathan Cookson, Head of Learning & Development, Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) (This article was first published by Cleaning and Maintenance online).

CIWM originated from a background of public cleansing, an area that many have forgotten or ignore.

Public cleansing is an important aspect of the environment and covers many sectors – from cleaning staff looking after car parks and hospital porters removing waste from wards to street sweepers tidying up behind the myriad of pedestrians.

There is a perception that sweeping and cleaning is easy. But we’ve moved on from the years when anyone with a mop or brush could do the job.

Starting with an emphasis on health and safety for protecting workers, the role of cleaning has become much more complicated, skilled and professional.

Currently waste segregation is required in offices, hospitals and laboratories and there are innumerable procedures and processes required by those that manage waste and clean the environment.

It might only be emptying a bin but if there is a requirement for those bin contents to be kept separate from others, cleaning operatives, porters and sweepers need to know why, how and what to do.

One of the biggest factors influencing waste management these days is the need to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill in order to cut carbon emissions and prevent global warming.

The UK generated 222.2 million tonnes of waste in total in 2018 – so clearly waste management is a massive issue for the country.

CIWM’s aim is to move the world beyond waste. We are supporting the UK’s overall strategic aim of moving from a linear towards a circular economy, where resources are reused and recycled rather than being directly disposed of.

Members of CIWM come from every aspect of business, be it policy developers in government, environment regulators or local authority recycling officers, to behaviour change experts communicating and influencing citizens through education or information to take the right steps on the pathway to a circular economy.

CIWM assists prisons and education facilities in relation to careers and careers guidance, helping the next generation obtain the green skills needed for forthcoming materials resources managers.

Resources and waste management is a complex sector; there are detailed procedures in place for handling hazardous and healthcare waste and there are extensive legislation and regulations that the sector has to adhere to, which are incorporated into waste management facilities environmental permits.

As a result, training is now more important than ever. There are more than 5,000 registrations every year for the accredited qualifications we offer in the cleaning and waste sectors alone.

CIWM offers entry level training to help employees understand why some of the procedures they undertake have to be done that way.

All businesses should be following the waste hierarchy, looking to reduce the waste they produce and, more relevant for the cleaning service, reducing the hazardousness of materials used, from a health and safety point of view and to protect the environment.

Some cleaning staff in hospitals and other clinical settings require specific skills due to the risk of infection.
Those employees working more directly with the collection system will need to understand about the different waste streams that are produced at the office, hospital, laboratory or retail unit.

Providing cleaning staff, porters etc with a basic understanding about separation and segregation means less impact on the waste management budget as hazardous waste is much more expensive to treat than separated out dry recyclables.

Supervisors have a key role to play throughout the cleansing and waste management service so suitable training is essential.

They need to understand the basic legislation around waste management to ensure their teams are fulfilling their roles without contaminating any waste produced but also so they can answer any queries in relation to segregation and handling.

CIWM caters for both operator and supervisor roles but sometimes the qualification or training element we cover in our standard materials requires contextualising so in-company training is required.

During the Covid-19 pandemic our workers were praised by politicians and the public for keeping services going, despite the challenges of the time.

However, by and large people have no real understanding about what goes on in the background, be that sorting, treatment or disposal, and the career opportunities afforded by our sector, from engineers, drivers and chemists through to accountants and lawyers.

Lobbying campaign update

By Jim Melvin, Chairman of the British Cleaning Council (BCC). (This article was first published in Tomorrow’s Cleaning in April).

As readers of this column will know, the BCC has launched a lobbying campaign to encourage industry colleagues to write to their MP to highlight the need to make cleaning and hygiene a national priority.

As you will further recall, this is in support of the eleven recommendations made last year by the sector’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in their report entitled ‘Embedding Effective Hygiene for a Resilient UK’.

I’m pleased to report that things have got off to a great start and it feels like we are finally seeing some traction in our drive to make the industry’s voice heard in Parliament and by Government.

We began trailing the campaign at the end of February, in the media and via social media, and we launched it at the Cleaning Show in March.

I urged show delegates to get behind the campaign during my conference address to an audience of around 200 people on the morning of the first day, as did my colleague BCC Deputy Chair Delia Cannings on day two.

Throughout the event, colleagues on the BCC stand at the Cleaning Show stand were handing out information leaflets and urging attendees to give their support.

We are asking industry members to use their phones to scan a QR code, which takes you to a page on the BCC website with a pre-written letter which can then be emailed to your MP.

At the time of writing this column, 118 people had downloaded the letter to share with their MP.

I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to write, it is very much appreciated. If you have written to your MP, please do let us know on admin@britishcleaningcouncil.org

As far as I am aware at the time of writing this column, three MPs had responded positively. I would be very interested to hear how other MPs have responded.

As part of the campaign, I had a good face-to-face meeting with The Rt Hon Grant Shapps, my local MP.

I handed him a copy of the APPG report and the letter and briefed him in detail. I wait to see what the result is.

We’ve also been contacted by the policy unit of the Conservative Party, asking for more information, and I intend to meet with them soon. This is an encouraging development as we have been trying for months to engage with the major political parties.

We’ve also contacted a number of other APPGs in order to engage the MPs which make up their membership.

As part of that, APPG Chairman Nigel Mills MP and I will meet the Chair of the APPG on Business Resilience.

Also on the agenda is an approach to the Migration Advisory Committee, which advises on which jobs should go onto the Shortage Occupation List. We will be arguing for cleaning industry roles to be included to help alleviate the staff shortages the sector faces.

Finally, if you haven’t taken part in the campaign so far and contacted your MP, I’d like to again reiterate: ‘How much do you care about your industry?’

We need your help. 118 letters are a great start, but this is an industry that employs thousands in significant roles.

Please show that you care and email your MP about making cleaning and hygiene a national priority.

One letter from your company owner, your CEO/MD, your director, your manager, your team………. you?

It will only take a few moments to cut and paste the letter on our website into an email. If you don’t know which MP to contact, you can find out via our website here https://britishcleaningcouncil.org/2023/02/06/download-letter-here/

Thank you in advance for your support. It is and will always be greatly appreciated.

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