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It is only in the last few years that domain knowledge in the cleaning and facility management industry has been systematically recorded and shared. However, this knowledge has not necessarily been internalised by facility management personnel; consequently, upskilling in the industry occurs sporadically, and without a well-planned learning methodology. To introduce systematic education and training in the facility management sector, Schevaran Laboratories – India’s leading cleaning chemicals manufacturer, Cleanfix – the Swiss precise cleaning equipment manufacturing company and Filmop – the world’s largest producer of cleaning tools, in association with Ramaiah University, have joined hands to establish the Academy of Cleaning Excellence (ACE), India’s first educational institute dedicated to training cleaning professionals.

It comes as no surprise that the upkeep and maintenance of a building often do not match the investment in the building, or the image desired by the facility owner. When it comes to cleaning, there is a gap between what is desired and what is executed. This is largely because cleaning personnel learn on the job and follow methods without knowing why it should be done so. What most people do not know is that cleaning is a science, and it has to be learned.

The Academy will become a high-level school for facility management, where people can study the entire range of the FM chain, from basics such as using basic chemicals and tools to using high-tech equipment and recycling. Every aspect of facility management for different types of facilities will be taught in a step-by-step manner. It is already clear that the establishment of such an institute will help the entire cleaning fraternity.

Switzerland is known for being home to the world’s finest hospitality management schools. Facility management is in fact studied as a three-year course there. Swiss company Cleanfix will bring its matchless expertise from Switzerland to India, giving ACE students an insight into their FM techniques. Since the students will be working in an Indian scenario, the faculty will also include reputed Indian professionals.

ACE’s flagship course will be the Facility Management Executive Program, designed for top-level FM managers. It will be of 6-8 months duration, much like an executive MBA. ACE is also planning to design courses for mid-level employees. Bengaluru’s MS Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences will support ACE when it comes to curriculum, facilities, infrastructure and delivery of modules; successful candidates will graduate with a diploma.

The three to four months programs for working professionals, which will be shorter in duration, will also be announced soon. Programs in housekeeping, electro-mechanical, gardening, food and beverages have also been envisioned, as has a healthcarespecific program. ACE will have a placement cell, which will connect graduates of the program to endusers such as FM companies and large corporates.

Headed by Dr Guru Dutt, a senior scientist and academician, who will also lead the formation of an academic council. A council of advisors is already in place. Bharathi Kamat, Managing Director of Carewell Facilities has joined the advisory board. Admissions will begin in August last week this year, and courses will commence in September 2019. “Training at ACE will enhance the pride and status of the unskilled workforce, and also improve cleaning and facility management outcomes,” said Edward D’souza, President-Service Master Clean.

The guest of honour at the launch of this event, Dr Sivaguru S Sritharan, Vice-Chancellor of the Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences expressed his admiration for the courage and determination shown by Schevaran in starting something from scratch, and with such high levels of excellence. “These are the kind of leaders and entrepreneurs my university hopes to produce,” he said. “While some of the courses will overlap with hospitality courses, someday, my chemistry department will also get involved, and eventually Artificial Intelligence will also play a role. This is the beginning of a great relationship.”

As Baskaran Nadar, COO of Hitech Corporation Limited, puts it, “This man (Sam Cherian, MD-Schevaran Laboratories) had a vision, created the market and expanded. Unlike others who have entered into the existing market.”

ACE – Brainchild of Schevaran

“Over 31 years, we have evolved from a cleaning chemical manufacturing company to a company with the best cleaning expertise. During this time, we have also observed the cleaning literacy levels of the cleaning personnel who use our products, and the people who manage them. At the moment, we have over 30 people in the field, training janitors in how best to maintain their facilities. Clients are asking for higher and higher levels of expertise, and we have to keep up with them. ACE will fill the gap between client expectations and present abilities.” – Sam Cherian, MD-Schevaran Laboratories

Adding Swiss knowhow to ACE

“Each time I come back to India, we work on some new project to make India clean, so it’s always interesting to come back. We will now do much more than bring machines, demonstrate their use, and wait for them to sell. We are very proud that we can bring our knowhow to help tackle this very big challenge.

“While it may require a little time and investment in the beginning, training personnel will actually increase the life of a building, and bring down overall maintenance costs in the long term as well. We also plan to make the course unique and challenging for students by tying up with Swiss university to have candidates come and study how we do things in Switzerland for one or two weeks, and then come back and adapt their knowledge to Indian conditions.” – Felix Rüesch, Director-International Sales at Cleanfix

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