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Confident green superhero with eco-friendly spray detergent and sponge.Professional cleaners are true super heroes. While they might not wear their undies on the outside – they are constantly winning the battle against bacteria, viruses and germs that exist in the spaces we work in, the public buildings we visit, the shops we love, and the cafes we frequent.

The perception is that anyone with a cloth and spray bottle can wager and win a war against these unseen foes. Not true.

Keeping our environments clean, healthy and hygienic requires knowledge and skill and Paul Emery, managing director of ToTal Property Services in Christchurch is confident his staff are worthy adversaries against the hordes of bacteria, Bertie Germ and his mates that are lurking in the places we work and play in.

How does he know? “Quality cleaning.” That’s it – two words.

Paul knows the key contributor to the quality and consistency of the cleaning services they deliver, is training. They are committed to putting their staff through the Careerforce supported workplace training programmes in cleaning.

“We know we deliver consistency across all our sites because all of our managers and many of our staff have all undertaken the same training.” They know what needs to be done, why it needs to be done and how to do it. And most importantly, they do it with confidence, and they do it well… all the time, he says.

“Our labour costs are also down because our staff don’t mess around. The training is also incredibly useful in the Health and Safety space which has a positive impact for us.”

The team hold the New Zealand Certificate in Cleaning (Level 2). It’s a national qualification achieved through an NZQA recognised workplace training programme. Since the programme was designed by Careerforce in consultation with the cleaning sector, it’s effective and relevant to the real work cleaners do every day.

Beating back Bertie Germ

Paul says the biggest impact comes from staff knowing why they are doing things. “As a cleaner you can see dust and it’s easy to remove. You can’t see bacteria.” The right processes, chemicals and technique must be applied to keep Bertie Germ at bay.

The quality of ToTal’s cleaning is proven by the cleaning audits they do of each cleaner around twice a month. “Those who hold the qualification get higher outcomes and they get them consistently, we just do not see a drop off in the quality of their work.” It’s also proven by ToTal Property Services’ year-after-year winning performance at the cleaning industry’s annual premier recognition of excellence – the national Clean Sweep Awards.

Paul explains that they started their training journey with Careerforce by putting their managers through the programme, then their customer service managers, followed by team leaders. “By doing this we were able to see the quality of the training and appreciate the difference it would make.” They have now put through several groups of cleaners and have more enrolled. There are also plans to hand pick some of their superstars to enrol them in the level three cleaning certificate.

Paul and his team of over 170 cleaners in Christchurch know they deliver superior service because they have the training to back up their dedication, quality and drive for consistency.  “Our people are not housekeepers but professional cleaners.”  Working in spaces like the Christchurch Museum, the City Mission,  the Canterbury Charity Hospital, schools, large corporate offices, accommodation,  retail and hospitality venues – the team knows that the work they do every day has a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of our community.

The challenge, he says, is educating clients about the value of having qualified staff working in their premises.

Business and building owners assume they’ll beat bacteria when they engage a cleaning company; but simply put, they won’t. “Not unless those cleaners are armed with the competence and knowledge that comes with a qualification in cleaning.” It is only then that the war against the bugs will be won.