22 August 2016
A clean environment is critical to staying healthy. As the Havelock North community rebounds from the debilitating infection that swept through the community, industry training organisation (ITO) Careerforce wants to help raise awareness of how to create healthier environments by offering free enrolment into the New Zealand Certificate in Cleaning training programmes it supports.
Careerforce chief executive, Ray Lind says that competent and qualified cleaners are more effective at keeping environments healthy and stopping the spread of bugs.
“Tens of thousands of cleaners work all day, every day across New Zealand to keep us all safe and in environments that are clean and hygienic. Cleaning is one of the significant sectors we support and Careerforce wants to be part of the solution to lessening the impact of large scale outbreaks in the future.
“By offering free enrolment into our NZQA recognised cleaning programmes to businesses, we can help upskill more cleaners.” Lind adds that through effective practice, correct use of equipment and chemicals, proper hand washing techniques and effective cleaning practices, cleaners make a large impact on the environments they work in.
“An effectively cleaned environment will help stop the spread of bugs – be it person-to-person or from surfaces touched by a sick person. While in Havelock North, the source of the infection was in the water, there are undoubtedly cases of the interpersonal spread of bugs.”
Careerforce, the government funded, not-for-profit ITO, is offering its New Zealand Certificate training programmes and qualifications at levels two and three to any workplace, with no enrolment fees for the rest of the year. “This is a fully supported workplace training programme that was designed in consultation with the cleaning sector, so we know it’s effective and relevant and it does raise the quality and productivity of cleaning teams.”
Using the REAL training philosophy, experienced workers may find that through an initial assessment before they start on-the-job training, they already display many of the competencies required to obtain the qualification. “This means they only have to train to any gaps in their knowledge and potentially can get their nationally recognised qualification in an efficient and timely manner and in a way that respects the skill and competence they already have and use every day.”
Wellington’s Bowen Hospital has just put all its cleaners through the level two certificate and support services manager, Clare Betty says that having all the cleaners working to a known standard, rather than individual ones, has made a powerful difference. It is particularly evident in the space of infection prevention, she says. “Now that our cleaners all truly understand why we have certain protocols and cleaning procedures in place, they work more confidently. They are also fully aware of the precautions they need to take when working in high-risk areas.”
Building Service Contractors of New Zealand (BSCNZ) chief executive Lillian Small reinforces the importance of effective cleaning.
“Clean environments are a major contributor to our overall health and wellbeing. Aside from offices, any public or private space where large numbers of people spend time – airports, hospitals, schools, universities, aged-care facilities homes and even police crime scenes; these are all areas where sanitisation standards are absolutely critical,” Small says.
Research undertaken last year by the BSCNZ showed that almost three quarters of respondents (64%) were mindful of who shared their work space and equipment, with 39 per cent particularly concerned if there are sick people at work.
“It’s important for businesses and building owners to know that when their cleaner comes in they are relevantly trained and qualified and they are seen as offering an effective and highly important professional service.
“When that cleaner goes home after work, it’s also important they know how to protect themselves, their families and their communities to remain healthy.”
In acknowledging the important role cleaners hold in keeping our businesses and communities healthy, Lind says the offer of free enrolment into Careerforce supported training will help raise the profile of the positive impact they have on a daily basis for us all.