15 questions for Kathrin Schwarzer
“At the Wetrok Academy, you don’t learn with a theory folder in your hand, but with your hand on the single-brush machine.”
Kathrin Schwarzer successfully obtained her Wetrok Master diploma in spring 2022. She works as Head of Cleaning & Lingerie at the Lukashaus Foundation (a living and working institution for people with disabilities). An interview about professional advancement, morning quiz sessions and positive changes that the Wetrok Master course can initiate for an entire company.
1. Ms Schwarzer, what did you learn in the Wetrok Master Course?
We learned to apply the cleaning techniques correctly from scratch. Afterwards, you know which cleaning agent in which dosage is optimal for which floor covering using which cleaning machine. People always think “ANYONE can clean”, but not all cleaning is the same – professional cleaning is a completely different matter in terms of knowledge.
2. What will an employer gain from sending their cleaning staff on the Wetrok Master Course?
A lot! With highly trained cleaning staff, quality, efficiency, hygiene level and occupational safety are increased. And most importantly, having a knowledgeable staff ensures that the value of the materials be cleaned is retained. If you use the wrong cleaning agent or the wrong cleaning mechanism, expensive floor coverings can be destroyed after just a few years. Thanks to the Master Course, however, I now know which floors are sensitive to water or acid and which is the appropriate mechanism (pad or brush) for the floor in question. With this knowledge, I can now choose the right cleaning agent(s) – and save my employer from expensive repair work or even costly material replacements before the end of the usual service life.
3. Has the Wetrok Master Course helped you professionally?
Yes, it has given me security. In addition to managing the lingerie department, I have recently taken over management of the cleaning. Despite numerous further training courses in housekeeping, cleaning was still an area of expertise that I was uncertain about. By attending the Master Course, I now know about all common floor coverings as well as cleaning methods and I am now prepared for every cleaning situation.
4. What are your tasks at the Lukashaus Foundation?
I coordinate the entire laundry as well as the maintenance cleaning and deep cleaning in our various buildings on the premises. To do this, I allocate the staff, draw up cleaning plans, carry out quality controls and work operationally in the day-to-day business. In addition, I also have to do classic leadership tasks: I motivate, encourage, train and evaluate my staff. In the lingerie department, I also supervise and support our apprentices.
5. What training and further education did you complete before the Wetrok Master Course?
I originally trained as a gardener and florist. After that, I passed the vocational examination to become a farmer with a Swiss federal certification of professional competence. In the years that followed, I completed various additional further training courses in the field of home economics and acquired a lot of practical experience through my professional activities.
6. What forms of learning can participants of the Wetrok Master Course expect?
Engaging theory lectures, instructive practical sequences, group work and revision or exam preparation at home. Actually, you even learn a lot during the breaks (laughs): interacting with course participants from other sectors is very exciting and inspiring. We still have an active group chat. But what I enjoyed most in the course was the morning Kahoot quiz.
7. What is a Kahoot quiz?
Kahoot is an interactive, digital quiz. It’s quite simple to do. Each morning, the course instructors prepared a quiz on the previous day’s learning material on the “Kahoot” platform and us participants all logged in with our smartphones. Then questions were displayed and we had to click on the correct answer from the various answer options as quickly as possible. The person who answers the most questions correctly and in the shortest time is the winner and receives a small gift. I got to take home some prizes (laughs). This makes revising what has been learned fun and consolidates the learning content in a playful way.
8. Did you have to study a lot at home?
The Master Course has its value and I don’t want to deny that there is a lot of learning involved. I work full time and am a single mother, so I was aware from the beginning that I have less time to study at home than other participants, so I have to take in as much as possible in class and always stay on track. I wrote myself a short summary after each day of the course – that helped me enormously in preparing for the exam. I think the most important success factor for passing the exam is that you really WANT to learn – then you can do it.
9. What is the balance between theory and practice?
The motto is Learning by Doing. A course day consists of about one third theory and two thirds practice. After each theoretical component, we immediately go to the practice rooms next door. A large selection of cleaning materials, cleaning agents and cleaning machines is available there. It also has test areas with different floor coverings. That way, you can immediately try out what you have learned in practice.
10. Is there a special cleaning trick that you learned on the Master Course?
The burn test. This is a trick to find out what material a floor covering is made of. All you need is a paper clip and a lighter – that’s all I’ll tell you (laughs).
11. What do you do differently in your daily cleaning routine since the Wetrok Master Course?
The Master Course has initiated many changes. For example, I revised all the cleaning schedules, rearranged the cleaning rooms and lost my fear of touching the single-brush machine. I always thought that deep cleaning with a single-brush machine was a strenuous “man’s job”, but when you know how to do it, it’s very easy and even fun! I was also made more aware of protective equipment and ergonomic working methods: I now pay even more attention to ensuring that my employees protect themselves optimally at work. I passed on my new knowledge about cleaning methods and floor coverings, etc. to my team. That is what has really impressed me: The Master Course changes the way an entire team works.
12. What does that mean in concrete terms?
For example, we looked at how to equip a cleaning cart in the most sensible way, and I showed my team what issues they need to focus on in order to prevent musculoskeletal disorders in their daily work. My main concern, however, was to put occupational safety and health at the centre – you always have to do that. Routine is the enemy of safety! We also discussed the changeover to modern cleaning methods and practised the new cleaning procedures from A to Z several times.
13. Why was a change necessary?
In the Master Course, I learned a lot about modern cleaning methods and realised that some things in our company are done in an outdated way and could be made easier, better and more efficient.
14. What cleaning methods have you replaced?
In concrete terms, we have changed three cleaning methods.
We no longer mop the floors with wet mops from the mop wringer, but with pre-wetted mops (WetBox system). These are placed in a box the evening before and doused with cleaning solution. Advantages: We no longer have to lug heavy buckets, we use less water, we can work faster and the cleaning result is much better, thanks to the mops being “just” damp instead of soaking wet.
We clean the sanitary rooms and surfaces with the Wetrok foam cleaning method (damp wiping with foam). Instead of buckets and water, we only need a small bottle that produces liquid foam. We apply this to a microfibre cloth and we are ready for cleaning. Advantages: We are protecting our joints because we no longer have to wring out cloths, we save a lot of water and chemicals and the small foam bottle is also ideal for taking along with us on external cleaning jobs.
We no longer remove loose dirt in our wet rooms with a dry vacuum cleaner, but with disposable dust cloths (dust-binding mopping with Masslinn cloths). The advantage: The cloths can even be used when there are still a few splashes of water on the floor and there are no streaks.
The result: The new cleaning methods make the work much easier for the staff and ensure a cleaner building.
15. Does the Wetrok Master Course open new doors?
Absolutely! In this course, you can acquire extensive cleaning expertise. You get the tools to lead a team or to start your own cleaning business. The Wetrok Master Course is also a household name in the industry and a guarantee of solid cleaning training – which can increase your success on the job market.