“At first, when I had to take up training in a hotel, I was sceptical as I had to handle housekeeping which I thought is directly associated with just cleaning, cleaning and cleaning! It is only when I went there, did I understand that housekeeping is not just cleaning but much beyond. The housekeeping department includes bigger operations like the laundry, rooms… My whole approach towards housekeeping changed then.” – Keith Fernandes
“We never knew there were cleaning tools or even equipment. We always thought we had to scrub the surface manually with a scrubber. It is only during training at the hotel, did I get exposed to the various modes of cleaning.” – Gurram Sunny Andrew
“Whenever there was talk of housekeeping we only heard about cleaning rooms, bathrooms, WCs, bathtubs… and when it came to public areas there would be talk of cleaning multiple urinals. It all sounded so dirty. But once at the job training, I thought ‘why not’! I found that it was an extension of keeping toilets clean at home and it taught us to live in hygienic surroundings. The very feeling of working in a dirty department faded away.” – Leroy Fernandes
“Yes it was uncomfortable initially. Cleaning toilets is something I do at home too but at times a hesitance of cleaning toilet after toilet in each room of the hotel and knowing that it has been used by someone else, leave behind a dull feeling. Nonetheless, housekeeping being my job, I have to do it.” – Swapnil D. Bhosle
“I feel this is a very important department as it influences the aesthetics of the hotel. Besides, there are various departments in the housekeeping itself and one gets to choose the department to begin with during training. Thus, one has the option of taking up the laundry or learn to supervise…” – Jyothi Bhanwala
“In fact, one has to work in all the departments for a duration of about one and half months. Ultimately one gets to experience every aspect of maintaining a hotel, including in housekeeping.” – Peter Francis
These were the reactions of some of the students at The Don Bosco Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Mumbai. The journey of a student from “never” to “why not” in housekeeping is an outcome of the hands-on experience that he/she gets while training at a hotel as part of their educational course.
In the Hotel Management course, students have to undergo six months training at any of the hotels. At the college, students get to learn about sweeping, mopping and washing but training on site is what has changed their mindset and views about housekeeping.
Most hotel management colleges are able to impart theoretical knowledge to the students, as getting the actual equipment for practical training at the premises, is a huge investment. Hence, the students had a lot to say about their training at the hotel.
“The initial 15 days of rigorous training, though exhausting and tough, is most interesting. The entire fortnight we get to learn what cleaning machines are, how to operate them and how to make rooms. At the end of this short span of time, we have learnt everything to do with housekeeping, which is a big achievement,” said Leroy.
“It was Bharat bandh and the housekeeping staff had not reported to work. We were four trainees, who took the floor that day. It was an amazing experience to do the beds and ensure that everything was in place. An entire floor was done by just two trainees. That is the kind of onus we have shared as a trainee in the hotel,” said Swapnil.
“Yes, it is a beautiful experience but we were nervous too. It is the first time we were handling a cleaning machine. While we have seen pictures and diagrams of cleaning equipment, working on them physically is a different experience, all together,” added Keith.
The curriculum of hotel management being more theoretical, students get to make beds only during training at the hotel. The methods of making bed, cleaning the room from top to bottom within the given time limit… are all only at the hotel.
Being a hotel management course in which housekeeping is just one part, the curriculum includes only the basics of various cleaning equipment, tools and chemicals. “There are different chemicals but the specific application of each chemical becomes clearer while training. Getting to know what goes where in a room is possible only when one is working at a hotel room,” said Jyoti.