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After the Storm: continuous professional development

Delia Cannings

Delia Cannings explains why training and education are vital components of our staff’s toolkits as we help lead the charge in keeping the nation healthy

As lockdown eases and we bubble in larger groups we must remain vigilant. And as we return to the workplace a safe environment is the key thing on everyone’s mind.

Therefore, the question we must ask is ‘What lessons have been learned?’

Development of the workforce is a fundamental aspect of any business. Lifelong learning, widening participation and succession planning are key features in supporting future success and contributing to a safe environment. Education and training have never been more important than now as we move towards recovery and enter the ‘new normal’ phase.

It is fair to say that the current pandemic situation gave rise to concerns regarding gaps in education and training, particularly in the field of cleaning as a science. The value of correct cleaning applications had been vastly underestimated, as has the knowledge required to make decisions on cleaning products used.

The most common concern was the fact that the fundamental difference between cleaning and disinfecting was not well known.

The essential value of systematic cleaning techniques required ramping up to ensure the process used was appropriate, robust, and capable of contributing to the containment of the virus. The use of colour coding and disposable cleaning resources has become vital.

Those organisations which managed best during the pandemic were the ones who had invested in a full range of training and education for staff

The understanding of chemical competence, dilution rates the frequency in when cleaning solutions should be changed and the safe disposal method for spent solutions along with segregation of waste types is now vital. PPE became the topic of the day, surrounded by much confusion. Those organisations which had invested in education and training for the cleaning workforce were able to demonstrate effective strategies to manage cleaning in a pandemic situation. However, some others were clearly not ready, and engaged a reactive strategy seeking the advice of product suppliers as opposed to training and education. In some cases, this undoubtedly resulted in the overuse of unsuitable systems and products.

My message to those who say: ‘Training and education has a cost and what if I train my staff and they leave after I have invested in them?’ is always the same. The answer is simple: “What if you don’t invest and train them, and they stay.”

It should be noted that many committed employers continue to invest in their staff and in the spirit of true employee-employer engagement fastidiously strive to achieve excellent results directed at improving the health and wealth of the nation. My respect and admiration are for all such companies. Thank you for keeping us all safe and contributing to saving lives.

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