Do you call yourself a neat freak? Do you take pride in a job well done? Does a clean room give you a great sense of accomplishment? If so, there is a perfect job for you in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray area).
There are a few different job titles for this kind of work and they vary depending on where and who you work for. Room/housekeeping attendant, executive housekeeper, carpet and upholstery cleaner, domestic housekeeper, building superintendent and custodian positions are all available in Wood Buffalo. Which one you choose to work at depends on a number of factors, such as schedule choices, amount of lifting, work environment, and experience.
Domestic housekeeper (NOC 6471)
A domestic housekeeper provides household management and personal cleaning services for families in private homes. They can either be employed directly by the family, or if employed by a residential cleaning service company may work individually or on a team.
This occupation is a good one for someone starting out, or for someone who wants to start their own business because they can decide how many clients they want and how much time they want to work. And with all of the overtime being worked in Fort McMurray, who has time to clean?
Hotel housekeeping attendant (NOC 6661)
Room/housekeeping attendants keep rooms, lobbies, halls and banquet rooms in hotels and motels neat, clean and well stocked. Cleaning staff take care of a specific department. For example, the Quality Hotel in Fort McMurray has three divisions within their housekeeping department—laundry, public areas and room attendants. There is a lot of room in this occupation to move up and someone with supervisory experience and a high school diploma can advance to executive housekeeping positions (noc 6213). Employers may offer accommodations for their staff.
“We’d like to hire someone who’s experienced, but we’re willing to train,” says James Kenny, housekeeping assistant manager at the Quality Hotel. “We look for someone who is motivated, energetic, hardworking and who has the ability to work as a team member or independently.”
Camp attendant (NOC 6661)
The duties of a camp attendant are very similar to that of a hotel housekeeping attendant, except they work in a work camp facility at an oil sands site. Accommodations and meals are provided by the employer while the camp attendant is working. Attendants work on rotation shifts, such as 21 days on, and seven days off and they may work longer than eight hours a day.
Industrial custodian (NOC 6663)
An industrial custodian works on an oil sands site, or in other industrial facilities, cleaning building interiors, furnishings and equipment. They work in offices and public areas, not in industrial areas. Vera Collins, a custodian with Denesoline Environment Janitorial Division of ACFN Business Group for 16 years, says she has no complaints about her job and likes the people she works with. Accommodations are generally not provided for this position, but transportation to the work site may be.
Vera Collins, an employee with Denesoline Environment cleans a common area on an oil sands site near Fort McMurray.
If you are already working as a housekeeping attendant and would like to be certified, the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association, together with the Canadian Tourism Human Resources Council offers online and distance training and certification for housekeeping room attendants.
“About 1,000 people a year are certified in Canada (for all occupations eMerit certifies),” says Jon Kiely, vice president of communications with the Canadian Human Resources Council.
The benefit of training and certification is to improve service delivery and enhance the customer’s experience. Individuals can apply for certification on their own, or many get certification with the help of their employer.
Visit www.emerit.ca for more information on training and certification, or contact the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association at 888-436-6112.
Joy Warren, a site supervisor for Denesoline Environment, says they require their staff to be fluent in English.
“Our employees need to be able to read and write well enough to read safety signage, MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) information, identify cleaning products and respond to verbal instructions, especially in an emergency,” says Warren.
Other requirements cleaning companies might have are a pre-employment drug and alcohol test, and if they are working on site they will need CSTS (Construction Safety Training System) and site-specific orientation. They may need WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System), a clean criminal record check or other security checks and may need to take an English literacy screening test.
Employers prefer employees have floor stripping and waxing experience and know how to operate equipment, but it is not mandatory. Supervisors must have previous cleaning and supervisory experience.
What are the jobs like?
Cleaning jobs are physically demanding—you must be able to work on your feet for a full work shift, while bending, stretching, walking and lifting or moving things.
People suited to this kind of work are usually social people—generally staff work in groups or with one other person and they often interact with clients and guests.
Mary Bailey, a day-shift supervisor with Denesoline Environment, says she gets great satisfaction out of her job.
“There’s a job for everyone. This one is mine.”
The information in this issue of Labour Market News was current as of the date shown. Employment outlook, salaries and educational programs may change. Please verify the information with additional sources before making career or business investment decisions. Contact us for more information.