Our education capability

It takes a special person to work in an education environment. And Facilities First is overflowing with them. We have cleaners and maintenance staff at education facilities including day care centres, schools, TAFE and universities across every state of Australia.

For our team, the work we do in education is as rewarding as it is challenging. And it is a really exciting part of our story as a business.

Two women standing outside a building smiling at the camera

Diverse skill sets

When you look at the skill set across our teams that service our education clients, it really is quite eclectic.

While each one is focused on delivering the same outcome – to enhance the education and learning environment for the students and staff at each facility – the way we deliver our services is quite diverse.

Jackie Keenan, Facilities First South East Queensland Operations Manager, explains the skills that are required in the university setting.

“Our staff are on site with students, teachers and the public. The role also naturally involves a lot of cleaning after hours in the evening. We need team members who are flexible and confident within themselves to both troubleshoot and deal with communications. Communication and leadership are really important skills our team bring to the table.”

Kevin Borg, National Business Development Manager, adds:

“In a day care or school setting, there are children of all ages. Our staff need to be mindful of the environment they are in. Whether they are cleaners or tradespeople, it is very much about respect and being customer orientated.

For the Affinity Childcare Network, our cleaners are on site after hours, but our tradespeople make a monthly visit for repairs and maintenance. Often, the children will be quite interested in the new person in the centre and want to talk to our staff. It takes someone with the right character and patience.”

Men discussing to his colleagues using a computer

Partnership approach

We are in this business for the long haul. Along the way we have built some very solid partnerships with our clients.

That’s how we approach every client relationship we have – as a partnership. And our education portfolio is no different. In fact, the partnerships we have with our clients are why we are so successful at what we do.

We work together with mutual understanding and clarity to achieve phenomenal outcomes.

“Our clients want to have strong relationships,” says Chris Joyce, GM Cleaning and Services. “In education it is a must, no matter which level of education we are working in. It’s important that we have a mutual understanding of our challenges so we can ride those out together. But also, it’s really important that they understand the benefit of having a self delivered partner who cares for their staff in the same way as they do in their business.

When that is missing, there is quite a disconnect. Every environment is unique and our staff need to understand those requirements so they are able to do a good job.”

Employee getting the garbage bin

But more than that, the better we support facility managers or school principals by going above and beyond in our job, the better the relationship becomes.

As Kevin explains:

“Our clients have people they need to support within their own business. When we support them by reporting, giving updates and actioning tasks, the easier it is for them in turn to manage the squeaky wheels they have to deal with.

The best contracts delivered are the ones where both sides of the relationship work together.”

April Price, FMS Contract Manager, adds:

“There is a number of stakeholders we need to adapt to and it’s through our relationships and communication that we educate everyone about the most appropriate action. Having a clear communication tree is paramount to how the relationship unfolds. Our people need to know who to go to for issues. And that starts right from the beginning of the relationship.”

Two men cleaning the books

Part of the community

Because we have such strong relationships with our clients, we become a part of their community.

Over the last 10-15 years, education has become much more community-based… and we are so proud to be a part of that.

“It’s a really important job to be a cleaner in education,” says Jackie.

“A lot of students, teachers, staff and visitors go to the cleaner for support, because the cleaner is usually the person who knows what is going on. They know where the toilets are, or in the case of universities, they know where to buy a coffee.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, our role as a cleaner and member of the community for each of the education facilities we service had never been more important. Chris explains:

“Since the pandemic hit, we have had more than 2000 staff trained in infection control. We have a base commitment to providing a high level of service, but through this time we have gone above and beyond to ensure that all the people in each precinct or facility we service are safe. Our relationships have only strengthened through COVID-19.”

Three women wearing face masks in front of a library

“We always do more than our best in terms of general cleaning,” adds ACT Client Services Manager, Andrew Cini. “But in the current climate, our cleaners feel like they have a duty of care to students so that the cleaning is at a point where students can safely go about their normal studies.”

More than anything, as a team we find the work we do in schools and education facilities to be highly rewarding. We know that the work we do is making a difference in creating safer and cleaner learning environments for students of all ages.

Are you looking for a tailored cleaning or maintenance solution?

Contact the team at Facilities First for a seamless, integrated service delivered with care and guaranteed quality.

Contact Facilities First