Q. You’ve been working in the independent education sector for a number of years; you must have seen a lot of development in the sector during that time?
A. We’ve seen many changes during that time. A key development has been the recognition that the cleanliness of site facilities has a direct impact on the recruitment of students and academic achievement. Many sites are now used for more local community activities, which means cleaning has become more challenging and needs to be more dynamic to manage additional use, special events and longer days. The competition for student recruitment has intensified, and we’ve seen institutions respond by investing in facilities and delivering a more professional service to support academic excellence and improve the student experience.
Q. How has i-Clean evolved in recent years to meet changing demands in the sector?
A. i-Clean has always provided independent best practice benchmarking to help organisations improve the productivity of their cleaning provision, whether in-house or contracted. Typically, most IE customers have in-house cleaning provisions largely due to the VAT position. With the induction of the National Living Wage there has been a shift towards mitigating these increases whilst maintaining appropriate teaching facilities. Over the years, we have also provided ongoing support to help implement some of the cultural change that is often needed to develop and maintain an efficient and effective service. For IE sector customers that use a contracted service, or want to consider one, we’re now able to provide a list of ‘best in class’ providers for shortlisting. Our Certification programme also means that we can support throughout the contract with six monthly reviews to drive continuous improvment.
In recent years we added a waste and recycling benchmarking offering to satisfy demand. This has proved successful in the education sector, where we have been able to contribute to the circular economy and corporate social responsibility by identifying additional solutions, over and above those provided for in standard recycling and waste contracts. As a result, several sites have driven recycling rates up, costs down and CO2te out.
In recent years we added a waste and recycling benchmarking offering to satisfy demand
Q. What are you looking forward most to at this year’s Facilities Show?
A. From a networking point of view we always look forward to catching up with our existing customers, meeting new customers and sharing what we do. We also look forward to learning more about the topics and themes so we can appreciate the bigger picture and the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead for some of our customers.
Q. Where can we find you at the Facilities Show 2016?
A. Stand S1410 (next to the Meet the Buyer Arena).
We will be on hand over the three days to discuss any requirements and to explain how we help the IE sector to continually improve cleaning service delivery and waste and recycling processes. Customer case studies will also be available.
Q. What do you have in the pipeline for the months ahead?
A. Going back to the introduction of the National Living Wage, contract costs for cleaning services that have been historically based on the minimum wage are expected to rise by as much as 30% over the next three years. We’ll be raising awareness of the opportunity to mitigate these increases through the adoption of best practice benchmarking so clients can deliver a world-class learning environment whilst keeping control of their costs. Helping clients to understand the value of staff engagement to improve productivity, reduce staff turnover and deliver ‘added value’ is another area we’re particularly keen to promote. Other than that it’s just doing what we do. We have plenty to keep ourselves busy.