Cleaners who previously never thought they would have the chance, now have aspirations of realising their full potential via business ownership. Cleaning Franchise company, Paramount Services, is supporting its staff to progress from cleaners to successful business owners.
Paramount Services National Franchise Manager Stella Blake is passionate about training. “Most of our cleaners haven’t grown up in an environment where there might be opportunities for scholarships, or to gain a tertiary qualification. But now there’s a pathway, and a real career opportunity,” says Stella.
Staff can progress from cleaner to business owner
“I think it’s wonderful for them to know that they can start off with just a part time cleaning job, do a Level 2 qualification in cleaning and then one day own their own business.”
With support from Industry Training Organisation Careerforce, Paramount Services is currently putting 80 – 100 learners through on-job training at various levels. Learners get trained in cleaning techniques, and gain nationally recognised NZQA qualifications as well as specialisms and supervisory skills, whilst having the support and backing of a major franchise organisation as well as Careerforce.
Paramount Services is an Auckland based franchise company that provides commercial cleaning services to businesses, councils and government agencies. It has a network of 140 franchise business owners and over 1,000 staff, and delivers full-service cleaning programmes across the country.
Cleanliness and sanitisation have rarely been quite as significant, as they have in recent times. It is during these times that Paramount Services has managed to navigate the changing environment and still proudly win a number of accolades. The company boasts many franchise award wins over the past few years which are recognition of its robust systems, thorough processes and high standards of cleaning.
Upskilling staff is the key for success
Training is a critical part of the process to ensure high standards for Paramount. “It’s part of our agreement with the franchise business owners that staff do the training, and that the training leads to qualifications,” says Stella.
“Our cleaners start with the Level 2 Certificate in Cleaning, and some specialise in the Health Care Endorsement. They go on to do Level 3 Certificate, and some do the Carpet and Hard floor Surfaces options, and get extra credits for that. Others complete the Supervision Strand. Franchise business owners will often do the Level 5 Diploma in Business and Management. So, it really is a full career path.”
Stella says that staff are often interested in owning their own business. “We go out in force to recruit people to start in a cleaning job, to then go through the qualifications. We use the phrase ‘learn while you earn.’ We take on internships, and we advertise on the university job search site. It’s great for students who have a spare hour after their studies. They can earn money, get some credits and for some it can be a great opportunity to think about being a business owner.”
Stella’s relationship with Careerforce goes back several years. She has helped to review the unit standards and has given valuable input into various Careerforce cleaning programmes over the years. She also supports Careerforce’s efforts to make it easier for assessors and trainees for whom English is a second language.
Stella says that many staff doing the Level 2 programme have English as a second language, and supporting trainees in these areas really helps with their training and achievement.
“Sitting a Literacy and Numeracy assessment is mandatory at level 2. Staff need to decant chemicals, so if they haven’t made up the chemicals correctly and don’t get that right, we’re all in big trouble.
“The learning is done on-line which is great. We set the staff up in an office and go through the training and the Careerforce assessments as well.”
Modifying cleaning systems is essential
Adapting to the changing environment has significantly impacted processes and training at Paramount Services. “As an organisation we are focused on green cleaning services, that take better care of staff, customers and the environment. But, systems change, and this all needs to be reflected in the training,” says Stella.
“Our Paramount Care cleaning products are manufactured green to remove palm oil and harmful chemicals so, they are not disinfectants. When Covid came along, it kind of put us on the back foot. We wanted cleaning products that not only cleaned the area but also disinfected it and killed any pathogens. We had to change.
“We also had to change our cleaning methods. Everybody wanted the high touch point areas cleaned every day. Staff had to start wearing full PPE, safety gear, goggles, masks, gloves, etc, cleaning top to bottom from two metres above the floor.
“Thankfully, an antimicrobial solution called Zoono came along. It’s a New Zealand made product that provides up to 30 days protection from a variety of pathogens, yet is water based, alcohol free and non-toxic. We go in with a misting machine, mist the whole area, just above the desk height. The fine mist means that computers are all safe and electronics or air conditioners do not need to be turned off.” Paramount now provides a successful misting and high touch surface cleaning service during the day.
At Paramount Services, franchisees receive start-up training specific to the sites they are working on from a Careerforce qualified assessor, then refresher training every six months. All their site managers, supervisors and franchisees are qualified in the New Zealand Qualification in Cleaning Level 2 and Level 3 (Supervisor).
Careerforce supports organisations to enhance their workforce’s skills and knowledge through on-the-job training programmes.
There are no enrolment fees for workplaces wishing to enrol their staff into Careerforce cleaning and business programmes before 31 December 2022.
For more information about training pathways in cleaning, contact Careerforce.