Here at Sparkles we love to support projects and organisations that help people back into the workplace and offer a range of opportunities to local communities. After attending a breakfast meeting organised by the School of Hard Knocks back in 2018 Sparkles had the pleasure of meeting project managers from ISG who had the same ethos as Sparkles – supporting local people into local sustainable jobs. Sparkles were given a fantastic opportunity to work with ISG, who have a global presence in the construction industry, as they had started a redevelopment project of a Welsh Medium School in Barry – Ysgol Bro Morgannwg.
At the Ysgol Bro Morgannwg project Sparkles provided professional welfare cabin and site office cleaning. ISG & The Vale of Glamorgan Council had extensive plans to modernise and upgrade facilities at the school. The project encapsulated five new extensions, including a design and technology teaching block, a new sports hall, a reception area and dining hall to create additional capacity for up to 299 new students. The school also had a multi-use games area with six tarmac courts and a 3G all-weather pitch and a new coach drop off and pick up area. Lucky students!
With all this construction work moving along very quickly Sparkles was asked to support the ISG team by providing professional construction cleaning services. After a meeting with the ISG team and identifying what was important to them we had a plan of action moving forward.
With the support of the ISG Project Manager and the Quantity Surveyor we identified what training, education and experience the Sparkles team needed to provide a high quality, safe and professional service. Health & Safety on site is paramount and ensuring everyone is competent and confident in their role was our first priority.
We contacted a local training provider, Barry Training Services, who could help Sparkles gain the relevant site safety qualifications. After months of upskilling the team, we gained qualifications such as IPAF, PASMA, IOSH, CSCS green cards, SSSTS and SMSTS. ISG were kind enough to offer our management some work experience with their site managers so that Sparkles could understand the day-to-day challenges that a busy construction site can throw at you.
Training and development was not the only challenge we experienced over the course of this project. We were tasked the important job of supporting the ISG team to work safely during the covid 19 pandemic ensuring the highest of cleaning standards were adhered to. Constant changes in Government and NHS guidelines posed for a challenging and variable environment. The Sparkles Team had a strict routine and introduced many infection control measures to minimise the risk to all on site. Sparkles provided infection control cleaning, deep cleaning and fogging services over the duration of the project.
We had up to 16 members of staff on this project who were all from the local area. We worked closely with the local Job Centre & other “Into Work” projects to get local people back into the workplace. Sparkles worked with people to overcome any barriers to employment which included childcare and disabilities. Other barriers were things such as “how will I get paid?” (weekly or monthly) or helping employees who had a transport issue. These things were quickly solved by our management team, simple solutions such as providing a sub until payday or help with taxi costs which helped individuals overcome these barriers.
Providing a safe, friendly work environment and having a “can do” attitude allowed us to have open honest conversations with our staff as their welfare is our top priority. Sparkles listens to what matters to our team and helps them problem solve in a safe workplace.
Charlotte Jennings, Sparkles Manager had this to say about the project-
“It has been an exciting experience for Sparkles Cleaning working with ISG. The ISG team at Ysgol Bro Morgannwg have helped and supported us to grow as a business. We have worked closely with the Job Centre to get local people back into work and overcome any barriers to employment, as well as supporting our existing team through training such as IPAF and PASMA. We have taken on six new people who were supported by work mentors. Three of our team members have gained CSCS cards and two team members have completed the SSSTS training. I have completed the SMSTS training which was a challenge. We are proud to be working with such a fantastic organisation and we are looking forward to our future working relationship with ISG.”
“The ISG and Sparkles team have been so kind and welcoming. Before joining Sparkles, I was put on furlough from my previous work. An opportunity came up to work with Sparkles on a temporary offer, however this quickly extended to a full-time position! Thank you to Sparkles and ISG for their support during these difficult times.” – Janice, Sparkles cleaner.
“These last few months have been such a busy period. I must admit that getting thrown in at the deep-end was challenging, but a great learning curve as I got to get much-needed training and experience working on the job.” – Phil, Sparkles cleaner.
We completed the Ysgol Bro Morgannwg project with ISG and created a great working relationship with the team. We invited them to our office at the “Goodsheds” to show them the amazing location we call our business home. Being part of such an exciting redevelopment project in Barry with other local independent businesses is so important to us. Community and doing the right things for the right reasons is at the heart of our business!