TSA launches inclusive leadership training course on diversity and inclusion

Demand for course explaining these vital issues is expected to be high

The Textile Services Association (TSA) is launching a new training course to help develop inclusive leadership skills within the laundry industry. This follows on from the positive response to its mental health training courses, which have already been completed by over 100 people.

While the inclusive leadership course is primarily aimed at managers, it is suitable for anyone interested in understanding the issues around diversity and inclusion and how they can affect staff.

The TSA’s work on diversity and inclusion has been growing steadily since 2020. One of its first steps was examining the gender imbalance within the industry by establishing the ‘Women in the Industry’ working group. The TSA’s Spring Conference has since seen a rise in female attendance, with almost 30% at the 2024 event, much higher than previous years, although the percentage of women attending the TSA’s national congress, its event for executive level employees, was only 10%, indicating that much more progress is required.

The association has since expanded its focus on diversity and inclusion to include minority groups whose representation and participation can also be improved.

A Culture Study conducted in 2022 by the TSA showed strong scores in the category of ‘belonging’ within the industry. “The results are a great foundation to encourage the development of a culture of inclusion,” says Emma Andersson, director of membership and finance at the TSA.

She adds, “Our priority is finding practical steps so that the TSA can help facilitate growth and improvement when it comes to diversity and inclusion within our industry. We’re seeing great support from both our board and our members in these areas, and we are delighted to be able to explore how we can work together to help make our industry even more inclusive.”

The TSA’s upcoming inclusive leadership course will define what diversity, equality and inclusion mean from a regulatory and legislative standpoint, before examining what companies are doing well and the potential consequences if things go wrong. It will also cover The Equality Act 2010, as well as explaining various types of discrimination and unconscious biases and how to overcome them.

“The amazing response to the launch of our mental health courses shows there’s a real appetite in the industry for more information about issues like this,” says Emma.

The course will be administered and led by specialist trainer and facilitator Terry Hayward, from HR and employment law experts Worknest. Terry attended the TSA’s recent Spring Conference where, alongside Emma, he ran a workshop on diversity and inclusion.

“The TSA are really focusing on these issues, not just through education but also by making people aware of the importance of diversity and inclusion,” says Terry. In particular, Terry feels the TSA’s highlighting of the sector’s gender imbalance has been vital in pushing the agenda for a commitment to change.

“It’s really important to acknowledge the issue, to understand it’s there, and then to think, ‘what can we do about it?’” he says. “That’s where the TSA are leading on this.”

The course is scheduled to take place online between 10am-12pm on Tuesday 11th June and costs £75 per person. As with the mental health training course, demand is expected to be high. Spaces are provided on a first come first served basis, so anyone interested in attending should book places as soon as possible by emailing events@tsa-uk.org

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us either via email or phone: 

E tsa@tsa-uk.org

T +44 (0) 20 3151 5600

Update from the TSA

Please note this news item is restricted for TSA members only. If you are a member already, please click here to log in.

If you are not a member and you would like to find out more about our membership benefits and how to become a member, please click here.

How the TSA is helping to put mental health on the laundry industry’s agenda

Association continues to support the industry as it seeks to improve culture around wellbeing

In advance of Mental Health Awareness Week the TSA is highlighting the progress the laundry industry has made in engaging with issues surrounding mental health, while acknowledging that there is still much progress to be made.

Improving mental health support and awareness for its members has been one of the TSA’s priorities in recent years, as it forms a major part of its efforts to raise standards of diversity and inclusion within the laundry industry. These activities include the creation of the Wellbeing Hub, an online resource containing training and support resources tailored to the specific needs of the industry, the launch of a mental health awareness course for managers and a mental health first aid training course. Next week the number of people who have taken the course will pass 100 , with more to be held during 2024 to meet strong demand.

The courses and support material were developed by the TSA in partnership with Via Vita Health, a health and wellbeing consultancy company. Adrian Thomas, trainer at Via Vita, gave a presentation at the TSA’s Spring Conference where he explored his personal journey with mental health and work and explained why it is vital that businesses engage with the issue.

“I come from one of the generations that doesn’t generally talk about mental health,” he said. “There is a generational divide on these issues, with many people under 30 feeling more confident about discussing them, but I’ve found that once you’re able to break through these barriers older people are eager to discuss the challenges they have faced.”

He went on to explain the importance of not just paying lip service to looking after the mental health of employees, and how meaningful change often requires profound changes of understanding and the culture within businesses. “We are all products of the society we grew up in,” he says. “Attitudes have changed enormously over the past 40 years, and we’re on the same journey with mental health that we’ve seen with sexual identity, physical disabilities and neurodivergence.”

The response to the TSA’s training initiatives demonstrates that there is demand within the industry for an improvement, but Adrian cautioned against complacency. “We are at the start of a long process here, and it will involve changing the mindset of many companies,” he said. “It’s similar to the culture change that the introduction of health and safety legislation led to.  It might seem overwhelming but it is important that the industry continues to engage with these issues and develops the knowledge and confidence in staff to empower them to support their colleagues.”

Despite the great response from the industry to the courses so far, a sense of the scale of the progress to be made can be seen from the informal poll of attendees at the conference.  It revealed that 65% of companies do not have stress risk assessments in place. “Creating this culture change in the industry will require education and collaboration to be effective,” said Adrian. “Beyond the legal requirements for companies to be considering these issues, at the end of the day it comes down to a simple equation – healthier and happier employees perform better.”

Emma Andersson is the TSA’s director of membership and finance.  She says, “Issues surrounding inclusion are of great importance to the laundry industry and the TSA’s members, and we have been extremely pleased by the positive response so far to the mental health training. Every course we’ve run has been fully booked. The next course in May is already sold out, so we recommend anyone interested in attending the next manager’s course in September to book early!”

For more information about upcoming training and to access the Wellbeing hub, visit the TSA’s website tsa-uk.org

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us either via email or phone: 

E tsa@tsa-uk.org

T +44 (0) 20 3151 5600

Talking ‘bout an evolution – the future of the laundry industry

TSA Spring Conference, Hilton St George’s Park, 15-16 April 2024

TSA Conference buzz: the future is positive – so long as we collaborate as we evolve

Given the huge challenges that the laundry industry has faced in recent years, the buzz at the TSA’s 2024 conference had a remarkably positive feel when it came to business prospects and the future.  Sure, there are still problems with issues as varied as The Red Sea and energy prices – but the industry is adapting to the new business environment and evolving to meet new challenges and utilise new opportunities. 

Part of that evolution is an increasing understanding that working together collaboratively is making the industry stronger and giving it a bigger voice – which is where trade associations and events like the TSA Conference come in.  One of the delegates, Jackie Smith of Bryant Plastics, commented “What stands out about this event is we all get together, there’s no such thing as a rival when you’re here, everybody just talks. It’s all very inclusive and everyone can get behind it. Over the years that I’ve been coming things have got better and better and better. I think the TSA are doing it the right way… otherwise I’d be telling them!”

The 2024 edition included a major focus on diversity, inclusion and wellbeing.  Adrian Thomas of Via Vita talked about supporting mental health training in the industry, and the need for companies to evolve their attitudes towards mental health.  His equation is simple: people perform better if they are happy.  The TSA’s Emma Anderson led a workshop on diversity and inclusion – it’s clear that the laundry industry’s engagement with diversity and inclusion, as with mental health, is rising.  For example, the number of women in management is going up – it would be good to see that growth becoming more rapid!

The TSA revealed the findings of De Montfort University’s research into hygiene compliance and EN 14065.  Essentially it highlights a big opportunity for laundries to take on more work from any organisations that rely on hygienic laundry results, such as the NHS.  Simon Fry of Micronclean commented on the industry’s ability to process laundry not only more hygienically but also more sustainably and economically than on-site facilities. Opeque’s Richard Newton warned that the approach needed to be an evolution not a revolution – hygiene is a very sensitive issue and no good would come of scaremongering.

The industry is also evolving in terms of its sustainability.  TSA’s Shyju Skariah talked about the industry sustainability roadmap that the association has produced, presenting some of the tools that are available to help businesses meet their green aspirations.  These include a calculator so companies can measure their carbon footprint. 

Conference also had stimulating presentations from speakers as diverse as the Times’ economic columnist Simon French and TV and radio political correspondent John Sergeant.  However, the optimistic mood was summed up in TSA CEO David Stevens’ address, “Crystal Balls,” in which he looked at where the industry might be in 2030.  Hopefully, amongst other things, we would be rid of single use plastics and there would be a 50/50 gender split…

The next TSA Conference will be on 16th and 17 October at the Hilton St George’s Park.  For more information contact the TSA. 

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us either via email or phone: 

E tsa@tsa-uk.org

T +44 (0) 20 3151 5600