A tidy for­tune in clean­ing

Clean up by work­ing in the build­ing ser­vices sec­tor. re­ports

The Courier-Mail - Career One - - Job Focus -

CLEAN­ING has typ­i­cally been a ca­reer op­tion brushed un­der the rug but those with a keen eye for op­por­tu­nity are leav­ing oth­ers in their dust.

The in­dus­try re­quires no qual­i­fi­ca­tions to be­gin but with study, ex­pe­ri­ence and ini­tia­tive, work­ers can work their way up to com­mand six-fig­ure salaries in se­nior man­age­rial roles.

Still, those who do not as­pire to head up the work­force can cash in work­ing flex­i­ble hours day or night, earn­ing on av­er­age $19 an hour – more than waiters ($15 an hour) and sales as­sis­tants ($18 an hour).

They can earn up to $30 an hour de­pend­ing on their shift times and ap­pro­pri­ate load­ings.

The Build­ing Ser­vices Con­trac­tors As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia re­ports ev­ery busi­ness needs clean­ers, pro­vid­ing sus­tain­able work and growth, as with ev­ery new build­ing built, more clean­ers need to be em­ployed.

Na­tional of­fi­cer Bar­bara Con­nolly says there is some train­ing in­volved to start with, and most com­pa­nies run in­house train­ing pro­grams to get new work­ers up to speed with us­ing equip­ment and chem­i­cals, but there are no for­mal en­try re­quire­ments.

“Nor­mally peo­ple think they can clean be­cause they can hold a broom but when you’re work­ing in the large com­mer­cial build­ings, it’s a skill be­cause they work quite quickly,” she says.

“It’s a labour in­ten­sive in­dus­try but peo­ple are well trained.”

Many work­ers leave it there, work­ing the stan­dard 6pm to 10pm shift for 20 hours a week, fit­ting it in around fam­ily obli­ga­tions, ter­tiary study or their hob­bies.

Full-time day shift work is also avail­able.

Work­ers of­ten fo­cus on cer­tain du­ties, such as clean­ing wet ar­eas or vac­u­um­ing, but can move to other du­ties as roles come up.

By study­ing a Cer­tifi­cate II or III in Clean­ing Op­er­a­tions, how­ever, they can learn to com­plete more com­plex tasks such as dry and wet foam shampoo and steam sani­tis­ing tech­niques; com­ply­ing with, im­ple­ment­ing and mon­i­tor­ing in­fec­tion con­trol poli­cies; and clean­ing food han­dling ar­eas or restor­ing hard floor sur­faces.

Em­ploy­ment lo­ca­tions can be CBD of­fice spa­ces, shop­ping cen­tres, ma­jor sport­ing grounds, in­ter­na­tional ho­tels, out­back mine sites – or out­side, ab­seil­ing down build­ings clean­ing win­dows.

Em­ploy­ment depart­ment fig­ures show 259,600 peo­ple work as clean­ing or laun­dry work­ers with most (147,200) em­ployed in com­mer­cial clean­ing, while 29,500 are do­mes­tic clean­ers and a fur­ther 28,000 house­keep­ers.

Pic­ture: SARAH MAR­SHALL

NEAT:

Af­ter a clean­ing course, David Stan­ley quickly found a full-time job.

1. COM­MER­CIAL CLEANER

NIGHT shift cleaner David Stan­ley de­cided on a ca­reer in clean­ing af­ter hav­ing trou­ble find­ing steady work.

Em­ploy­ment ser­vice Sal­va­tion Army Em­ploy­ment Plus set him up with a clean­ing course and within a month of grad­u­a­tion he was help­ing clean a hos­pi­tal.

“The hos­pi­tal rang me out of the blue, I had an in­ter­view and they gave me a job on the spot,” he says.

“They are also train­ing me up in other ar­eas.”

Stan­ley says other peo­ple con­sid­er­ing his line of work should get some ex­pe­ri­ence be­hind them by do­ing a course or work­ing in a re­lated field.

“You get a bit dirty some­times so you have to be able to deal with a bit of blood, wee, vomit,” he says.

“But I’m earn­ing more than I have earned in a long time.”

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