International Laundry Day is part of pan-European co-operation to raise profile of the industry

How does the laundry industry tackle staff shortages? It’s not just a UK problem, our European colleagues are dealing with the same issue. Not surprisingly, it was one of the key discussion points when the TSA attended the European Textile Services Association’s annual National Associations meeting on 26th-28th April in Bern, Switzerland.

The aim of the discussion around recruitment was to discover commonalities between the campaigns different national associations had been running to promote the laundry sector as an attractive employment prospect for potential recruits.

The TSA shared its recruitment strategy from working with its People Steering Group, including a recruitment information flyer for members to use at careers fairs. The flyer demonstrates the opportunities within the industry, and the vital role the industry plays in the UK economy. It was designed to answer the questions of young people moving into employment, showing that the laundry industry is committed to sustainability and environmental friendliness as well as providing a financially and professionally rewarding career with fantastic opportunities for progression.

The German Association (DTV) had also put together a portfolio of support material to help laundries recruit younger people and the Belgian Association (FBT) has started an education programme within schools. The meeting also heard about the successes of open days organised by the French Association (GEIST). Consequently, the Associations agreed to hold “International Laundry Day 2024” and will encourage members to host an open day to help educate potential employees about the industry.

“Our industry is a real hidden gem, and it can be a great career for many people,” says David Stevens, CEO of the TSA. “This meeting has really shown the work all the National Associations do to increase awareness of the industry and help their members showcase the opportunities it offers.”

As part of this campaign to raise awareness, recently the TSA met with Derek Thomas MP to discuss the concerns of the industry regarding labour shortages. They talked about the problems caused by Brexit and the pandemic, emphasising the need to attract local labour and school leavers in particular in order to mitigate these issues.

The TSA will continue to work with its People Steering Group to further develop this outreach scheme, as well as continuing with its apprenticeship scheme and the “Giving People a Second Chance” initiative which can also play a key role in attracting new staff.

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