CrestClean calls for Cleaning Industry Training Standards (CITS)

CrestClean Managing Director Grant McLauchlan.

CrestClean Managing Director Grant McLauchlan.

The appalling level of training uptake in New Zealand’s $1 billion commercial cleaning industry has prompted CrestClean to call for the introduction of Cleaning Industry Training Standards (CITS).

Managing Director Grant McLauchlan briefed the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee on the introduction of CITS on Thursday.

A CITS programme would be designed to increase professionalism and demonstrate a commitment to effective training in an industry that has no recognised or formal level of training standards. The programme would focus on training and certifying frontline cleaning professionals, verifying training programmes and training facilities to a set industry standard, and improving the skills of industry trainers through a comprehensive workshop.

NZQA figures show that in 2014 only 219 people successfully gained an NZQA qualification for undertaking a commercial cleaning job, including following basic levels of infection control precautions. In addition to this, CrestClean put 214 people through its accredited programme, representing 50 per cent of all certification of commercial cleaners in New Zealand.

“We believe a CITS would lift the standards of the cleaning industry leading to greater economic productivity, but equally important, provide a sea change in the attitudes and behaviours of cleaners as training provides them with greater skills and opportunities,” Grant says.

The lack of standards results in a loss of productivity. Businesses, schools and workplaces face increased absenteeism as people suffer illnesses, which are often the result of poor hygiene practices that can be traced back to the lack of training by their cleaners. The annual flu season compounds this, costing the country indirect and measurable health costs.

Grant was given a 40-minute speaking slot rather than the standard 20 and committee members showed a strong interest in the further development of this initiative across New Zealand’s commercial cleaning industry.

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