The growing number of training centres being launched in the region by FM and cleaning service providers is a clear indication of the growth and development these industries are experiencing in terms of skillsets, the competition in providing high standards of service to clients and the importance of training and employee development. In this rapidly evolving FM business environment, it is critical to carefully tailor learning and development strategies, which is then translated into excellent customer experience. To understand the reason behind this trend of training centres in the region, we speak to professionals from FM companies and one of the leading certificating bodies for cleaning in the world – the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc).
The British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) was founded in 1961 with a mission to raise the status and standards of the cleaning industry through education and accredited training. Today, BICSc is the largest independent, professional and educational body within the cleaning industry with over 30,000 individual and corporate members globally. Through BICSc accredited training, all candidates start with the foundation ‘Licence to Practice Unit’, which covers the essential skills required for anyone working in the cleaning industry. Only Verified Assessors who have their licence renewed annually can teach these skills.
According to Peter Gowers, Head of International Business at BICSc, having a BICSc accredited training centre allows an organisation to train its own employees to BICSc standards, giving cleaning operatives the essential skills and knowledge to become more effective and efficient in their roles. Not only does this give organisations the freedom to train who and when they want, but it also allows them to create a bespoke training programme, focussing on skills which are relevant to their business.
In October 2018, The National Training Centre for Facilities and Hospitality Management (FHM) partnered with BICSc to become an International Training Centre providing BICSc accredited training in the Middle East. Since then, FHM has qualified four Accredited Training Organisations, and has another six in the pipeline, which shows just how much demand there is in this region alone. Gowers comments, “This rapid increase in training centres can only be a good thing for the region as it will increase the skill level of employees, the quality of the end product as well as the safety of both employees and the public who could be affected by the environment.”
The revolution of training centres has been growing for a while and is driven primarily by the need for a quality product at a cost-effective price. The biggest impact of this will ensure all the key players in the cleaning and FM market stay ’on their game’ by continuing to invest in their cleaning programmes and the development of employees. Gowers also talks about the ideal set up for a training centre. He says that the centre should meet the requirements of the client and should include enough space to practice multiple skills, adequate supply of chemicals and cleaning agents, essential equipment and tools, similar to which the company uses on a daily basis, the correct manuals and paper work in line with BICSc standards and company policies and Licenced Assessors to train skills in an efficient manner. Maher Naddaf, BICSc Licenced Assessor at The National Training Centre for Facilities and Hospitality Management (FHM), talks about the challenges in this area. He says, “The biggest challenge in this area is overcoming language and communication barriers for those whose first language isn’t English. There are also challenges with regards to resistance to change and securing investment in training.” Naddaf also adds, “Many individuals currently working in the cleaning industry think they know how to clean without having had any formal training; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Accredited training gives operatives enhanced skills and knowledge to do a more effective job, while improving the professionalism of the cleaning industry overall.”
The Emrill Centre of Excellence was launched over a decade ago in June 2007, providing training for security, concierges, office assistants, management, lifeguards, call centre operatives, housekeepers, porters, supervisors, engineers, technicians, customer experience representatives and administrators. In November 2018, the company re-located its head office and created a brand-new state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence within the same building, which can accommodate up to 275 trainees. Sarah Rodgers, Head of Soft Services at Emrill, talks about the new training facility, the intention behind launching this state-ofart- training centre and the importance of training centres in the region…
Importance of training centres
Learning and development should be relevant, aligned, measured and continuously improved. There should always be a focus on training and employee development, and Emrill identified this requirement early by introducing the Centre of Excellence. When we know our people and understand our customers, the knowledge and experience gained can be applied to the design and delivery of training. Therefore, we can specifically tailor our programmes when handling training in-house. In addition, it’s also cost effective to have an in-house training centre, allowing Emrill to invest in its people and business directly, rather than spending large amounts on external training.
Moreover, in-house training also allows us to be reactive to the changes in the working environment or the requirement of our customers; we are also able to adapt constantly incorporate new technology and innovation into our training programmes. Another benefit is that the training programme can be customised according to the customer requirements and local conditions. We have the ability to replicate working environments in our training facility, alternatively training can be delivered on sites, allowing learning in a relevant location.
Our new facility consists of a Knowledge Theatre (auditorium); eight bespoke practical training rooms simulating various environments including bathrooms, offices, pantries, call centre, technical, residential and commercial with various types of wall and floor materials; classroom style learning facilities and technical workshops as well as BICSc dedicated practical rooms. In addition to the head office training centre, we also have dedicated on-site training facilities that meet the standards required by the accredited institutes.
We use the Knowledge Theatre facility for delivery of our masterclasses and innovation sessions alongside management training. Our practical technical training workshops, machinery, concierge, call centre and BICSc rooms can hold up to 70 trainees. Every day is different, and the number of sessions delivered will vary based on the demand of the business.
Parameters & training sessions
Every new operational employee that joins Emrill goes through a sixday induction programme, which includes health & safety, trade specific, customer service training, and many other relevant programme related to the role they are being inducted to. There are certain designations that demand for legal requirements for their roles, for example lifeguards and security. These employees participate in preparation training prior to their exams. Ongoing training is conducted across the business to ensure that employees are kept up to date with new technology and processes.
As part of our succession planning, we also conduct Open Days for assessments, where employees who have been in the business for over two years, are invited to attend an assessment for the next step of their career. The Centre of Excellence management team conducts monthly roadshows, visiting project sites and inviting all levels of employees to attend a one-on-one session to discuss their career planning and training requirements.
Emrill has 23 employees who deliver training across the business. All trainers are time-served, experienced professionals and hold certifications based on the type of industry training they deliver. We currently have six accredited BICSc assessors. We ensure all trainers have the appropriate soft skills and teaching expertise to deliver training programmes through ‘Train the Trainer’ courses.
According to Lota Pastorin, Communications & Marketing Manager, Dussmann Middle East GmbH it’s very important to have an in-house training centre for a cleaning or FM company to develop their staff’s industry knowledge and work techniques. An investment in training can boost profits due to efficient staff and more economical use of equipment and supplies. Not only the cleaning or FM company but most importantly the client will benefit in this endeavor giving them confidence in entrusting management of their facilities.
In line with this, to intensify training of new employees, Dussmann Service has established its own training academy in Dubai. The idea is not just to train people but to increase the company’s standards when it comes to cleaning practices. At the academy, the knowledge and skills of Dussmann personnel is augmented in simulated environments. It is a centralised place where company’s international knowledge and know-how is conveyed to all the staff to support our service delivery.
Setting up a training centre
Knowing that the personnel on-site is fully equipped with knowledge and skills on how to perform their job gives the end-users enough confidence to entrust their assets and facilities to the service provider so that they can focus on what they are supposed to do – concentrate on their core business. I am proud to say that our business has grown from 400 staff to more than 1,200 personnel and the need to set up a training centre was always on our agenda.
Dussmann Academy is verified and certified by the BICSc. Initial certification took us almost a week – starts with theoretical introduction, hands-on training and final assessments. Assessment includes inspection of the facility resources– equipment, storage, activity documentation, health and safety documentation along with policies and procedures.
After passing the assessment of the facility, the certification for trainers comes next. At this stage, one should be able to demonstrate the skills and knowledge required for the skill and comply with the organisation’s policies and procedures, identify the correct task risk assessment, method statement and relevant manufacturers operating instructions. Currently, Dussmann Academy has three certified trainers who are also classified as assessors. Certification is being renewed annually following the same process.
The academy was officially launched in January 2017, and the first training was conducted by the Middle East Regional CEO, Maher Al Aghbar for all the coordinators in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It took us four months to fully establish the training academy - three weeks of planning; three weeks in finding the perfect location; two weeks in drafting and finalising the layout; four weeks in construction and almost five weeks for polishing, branding and collecting machines and equipment. The training sessions varies on the scheduled arrival date of the new batch of staff. Last year, we have trained a total of 600 plus new staff. Refresher training is also conducted on each site twice every month.
Our training academy has two sections one is theory-based learning which includes introduction to the company, cleaning methodology and health & safety and the other is practical training. The Training Area has replication rooms that simulate real world cleaning environment. A number of different scenarios are simulated for example a hospital room or a hotel reception in this academy. New staff members have the opportunity to optimise their work procedures on various cleaning surfaces and there is a wide selection of machines, tools and devices available for practice. This helps the candidates to practically learn the skills in various scenarios and cleaning surfaces, operate equipment the correct way to prevent accident and breakage. Additionally, on the walls, there are posters with illustrations of the cleaning processes, rules and regulations in the accommodation - all labeled in three different languages: Nepali, English and Hindi. Besides, the Dussmann uniform for each service line and how it is worn is demonstrated on mannequins.
For new joiners, we always try to manage and schedule a batch of 20 per session. A conducive space is very important while learning new things. The fresher’s need more attention to absorb the important company information and also, for the trainer to be able to explain/ answer all the queries at a given time.