TSA’s pole vaulting events coordinator switches to Winter Olympics

Pole vaulter leaps into TSA

Now association’s events coordinator is aiming for glory in the skeleton

Emily Macdonald, the Textile Services Association’s events coordinator, is training to make the Spanish skeleton team and hopes to take part in upcoming international competitions this winter. In fact it was sport, in the shape of pole vaulting, that brought her to the TSA in the first place. “I used to train with Emma Andersson [the TSA’s finance and membership director] and when I was looking for a change of career she suggested applying. Luckily I got the job!”

Pole vaulting is all about hanging on while you go up, while the skeleton is about hanging on while you go down – is that a metaphor for her work with the TSA? “No, that’s all up!” she says. “Obviously I have a passion for sport and one of the great things about working with the laundry industry is that people are very passionate about it.”

Emily’s role is to organise events and training for the TSA and its members – her most recent task being the association’s Spring Conference.  “Feedback was great and it went well, I think,” she says.  “We covered a huge variety of topics – from the DMU research into hygiene standards and testing to the impact of Pasha the Pillowcase!  There’s a huge amount of work involved in advance when setting a conference, of course, but it’s then a real challenge to keep on top of everything while it’s happening.  Luckily the TSA team are very supportive and we all work together when required –especially at the conference.”

The TSA spends significant time on research and talking to members to find out what they need and want in terms of training and events.  “For example, we changed the conference from a one day to a two day event, directly as a result of feedback from members,” Emily says.  “The new format works well and gives delegates more time not only to take in the presentations and workshops, but also to network.”  

Previously Emily worked at Legoland in customer service.  How does the laundry industry compare?  “It’s really cool.  There are so many facets to the industry, and yet ultimately it’s all about the people. I’m lucky because I get to talk to and meet them on a regular basis. 

“I’m really proud of our events and also of how the association is leading the way in areas such as diversity and mental health. It’s very rewarding to be a part of all that.”

And the skeleton?  “The team at the TSA have been very supportive – as have people in the industry as a whole,” says Emily.  “Obviously to get into a national team you have to give 100% during training – and I make sure I give 100% to my work, too.”

“The TSA is a small team,” says David Stevens, CEO of the association.  “Before Emily joined there were just three of us – Emma, Shyju Skariah, our director of programmes and projects, and myself.  So it was very important that she fitted in!  She does a brilliant job and is a real team player.  We’re also very proud of her sporting achievements and we’re happy to help her, for example with flexi working, wherever we can.” 

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

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

How Pasha the Pillowcase is helping hospitality achieve a sustainable future for linen

The TSA’s textile sustainability mascot is making friends and influencing people

It’s been a few months since the Textile Services Association introduced the mascot Pasha the Pillowcase to the world. Pasha has the mission of educating staff in the hospitality and laundry sectors about the importance of handling linen correctly as part of the drive for sustainability. With about 61% of the industry’s annual stock of linen being lost each year, finding ways to reduce this will play a vital part in reaching Carbon Net Zero targets for both sectors.

Since the Pasha video was launched, it has been taken up by some of the largest hotel, leisure and laundry groups as a key part of staff training and has been getting great feedback as a useful way of illustrating the importance of this issue.

We caught up with a few of the people who’ve been making use of the training materials featuring Pasha to help train staff.

Fernanda Lewis is executive housekeeper at London’s Goring Hotel as well as the UKHA’s London chair. “I thought it was so innovative, I’ve never seen a training video like it,” she says. “The TSA has managed to present the issue of sustainability and how it applies to the day to day work of hotel staff in a fun but understandable way.

“I’ve been encouraging my peers in the industry to make it a part of the training they provide staff, as it’s a great way to make them aware of the importance and value of linen and why we have to care for it.”

Vitalija Agarwal is Customer Projects Manager at CLEAN, but had used the Pasha video in her previous role as head of customer services at Aeroserve, a company specialising in providing laundry services for the healthcare and hospitality sectors. “It’s great to have a training resource like this that is easy for staff who can’t read or speak English fluently to understand,” she says. “It puts a smile on everyone’s faces, it’s a positive message which really helps in making it effective.”

In fact, Pasha was such a hit at Aeroserve that they have begun using it in other ways to help spread the message of the need to look after linen. “The production team had the idea to print out a picture of Pasha and stick it on every laundry box on its way back to our customers,” says Vitalija. “It’s a fun way to remind people of the correct way to handle textiles!”

Nigel Graham at Bourne Leisure, one of the UK’s leading hotel and holiday companies. “Finding ways of improving the sustainability of our business is one of our biggest priorities,” he says. “With Pasha, the TSA has created something that quickly and concisely explains a complex but important issue and shows why everyone should be mindful of the importance of correctly handling and looking after linen and textiles. We started to implement it within our training procedures and are also carrying out a case study to see how this hopefully is helping to reduce the amount of linen loss we see at our parks”

The environmental and financial consequences of prematurely lost or damaged linen in the UK’s hotel industry are substantial. To replace the 12.5 million pieces of linen lost within the hotel industry with fresh linen would generate 39,000 tonnes of carbon, and require the equivalent of 937 bathtubs of water to grow the cotton. Ensuring that the textiles have as long a working life as possible can have a significant impact on the sustainability of any business that relies on it, and has been one of the TSA’s strategic priorities for many years. The Pasha initiative is just one of the ways it has been working with its members and the industries they serve to help reduce loss of linen stock and the need for fresh material to replace it.

“This is critical issue in the hospitality sector,” says Fernanda. “Solving it will have to be a collaborative process, and this wonderful resource the TSA has made makes it easy for hotels of any size to integrate the message into their staff training.”

Vitalija agrees. “Until now there’s been very little information about sustainability of linens available to us.  There’s no easy overnight solution, but the Pasha video is a great way to raise awareness of the problem and helps to begin creating the knowledge and mindset needed to reduce unnecessary product loss,” she says.

“The urgency of finding ways to improve sustainability within our industry isn’t going to diminish,” says Nigel. “A lot of people aren’t aware of the environmental impact of textile production, but thanks to the TSA and Pasha we now have a simple way to raise staff awareness of the issue.”

The TSA has continued to introduce Pasha and how it can help improve sustainability at UKHA meetings for the southeast and northwest regions, as well as at its Hospitality round table meeting where more major hotel groups confirmed they are looking to begin implementing the videos as part of their training.

The Pasha videos can be found on the TSA’s website, alongside its ever growing range of educational and training resources.

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

Laundry Cost Index: 2023/2024 FYQ4

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.

Spring’s Sequel! TSA Spring Conference returns with legendary line-up

With speakers that include broadcast legend John Sergeant, the TSA Spring Conference is back with a bang!

15-16 April 2024, Hilton St George’s Park, Burton Upon Trent

The TSA Spring Conference is back and with bookings already high the association is asking anyone who plans to come to reserve their ticket as soon as possible.  Last year’s Autumn Conference attracted a record 160 delegates and, with another formidable programme for the Spring edition, places are becoming limited. “We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back, and perhaps setting another record!” says David Stevens, CEO of the TSA.

The Spring Conference features a range of topics, from diversity and inclusion to hygiene and sustainability, along with a keynote address from one of the UK’s most revered broadcast journalists, John Sergeant. The event deep dives not only into hot topics of the laundry services industry, but also those of the broader cultural climate.

Following positive feedback from its Autumn Conference, the TSA has adopted a similar format for the Spring Conference by beginning with a series of Industry Workshops. They will start immediately after the welcome refreshments.

The workshops will cover a variety of topics, including exploring how research conducted by De Montfort University, in association with the TSA, can help ‘sell’ hygiene.  Another will discuss the success of the association’s first foray into animation with ‘Pasha the Pillowcase’, and the plans for the launch of an NHS Campaign that takes on board Pasha’s message and applies it to hospitals. The other two workshops will cover the vital topics of sustainability and diversity and inclusion. A dinner with entertainment closes day one.

Charlie Betteridge, chair of the TSA, will open proceedings on day two, followed by David Stevens, who will provide a quick update on the association’s work. A packed morning follows with addresses from Louise Adamson, on health and safety, and mental health training within the laundry industry, by Adrian Thomas of Via Vita.  Next is an ‘industry challenges’ discussion with the TSA team and an insightful keynote address from economist Simon French.

Following lunch, the TSA Team discuss lobbying and grant funding before welcoming legendary broadcaster and journalist John Sergeant to provide the final keynote address, “From Politics to the Dancefloor.”  John will cover his humble beginnings in journalism, through the iconic media events as a political correspondent for the BBC that gained him national recognition, to being a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing.  His talk is sure to be an event highlight.

The TSA Spring Conference always sells out, so advance booking is essential. Anyone interested should contact the TSA as soon as possible. Email events@tsa-uk.org for information or visit https://tsa-uk.org/tsa-spring-conference-2024/.

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

Commercial Laundries Want YOU

TSA, the European Textile Services Association (ETSA) and other national laundry associations join to promote textile service careers with Laundry Open Week: 11th-15th March

The UK’s Textile Services Association (TSA) has come together with the European Textile Services Association (ETSA) and others to throw open the doors of the commercial laundry industry to the public. The aim? To demonstrate and promote careers in textile services. The method? Commercial laundry sites across the UK will allow visitors access inside their premises on specified days between March 11th and March 15th, where they can see and discuss the range of careers available in this growing sector.

The actual washing process is only part of it. While there are currently over 24,000 people working in the textile services industry, only about a third handle the laundry. From engineers to customer service reps and HR, from sales and finance teams to drivers, behind every clean piece of linen is a vast number of different skills and jobs. While one purpose of Laundry Open Week is to showcase the diversity of career paths within the commercial laundry industry, it’s also to celebrate some of its forward-thinking initiatives as championed by the TSA, from sustainability to inclusivity and mental health, as well as explaining the industry’s importance in supporting the broader UK economy.

“While these issues are vital to us, we want this week to demonstrate that it’s a fun industry to work in, too!” says David Stevens, CEO of the TSA. “Anyone interested in a career in textile services, or simply curious about what goes on behind the scenes, should consider getting involved.”

While this is the first time something like this has been done in the UK, its potential for success has already been tried and tested overseas.  “France has been doing this for a few years now, and with a great turnout,” says David. “The fact we have ETSA and others behind it now is really encouraging. We are keen to showcase to the general public what our industry can offer.”  

There’s still time for commercial laundries to apply to be part of the open week. They just need to get in touch with the TSA via its website and specify a day between March 11th and 15th that works best for them to participate. If you are looking to attend the event, please get in touch with your local laundry to see if they are taking part in the initiative.

“It’s fast approaching, and we see this very much as a pilot event, our hope is that it grows and becomes an annual week,” says David.

Commercial laundries are vital to UK Plc. Without them, 90% of hotels would be forced to close within just three days, while the same percentage of hospitals would close after 24 hours. For Pharma and Food Processing Factories, the story is much the same.

“The message is simple: laundry matters, and working in the laundry industry can be a highly rewarding career,” says David.

For those attending Laundry Open Week, sharing images and social media posts is encouraged to help spread the word and the success of this first-time event. Those interested in finding out more should visit 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