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Housekeeping

Housekeeper

The Work

A housekeeper, sometimes known as a housekeeping manager, is responsible for organising the staff in a hotel to make sure that all the rooms are kept clean, tidy and welcoming. They supervise staff in the department and encourage effective teamwork.

A big part of the role is to draw up shift rotas and allocate daily cleaning duties for the room attendants. Housekeepers inspect the rooms and make sure that standards have been met. They record any faults or damages and make arrangements for repairs to be carried out.

Recruiting and training staff would also be part of the job. A housekeeper will demonstrate how to do a task to the set standard and expect new and existing employees to achieve the same level of competence.

Housekeepers prepare and manage budgets, buying in supplies economically and keeping records of expenditure.

Hours & Environment

Shift work is common, including weekends and public holidays. Part-time work may be possible.

Housekeepers work in all kinds of hotels and residential establishments, from small hotels to holiday centres, luxury health spas and private clubs.

Skills & Interests

To be a housekeeper, you should:

  • have the ability to encourage and motivate staff
  • have strong communications skills
  • have good organisational skills
  • pay attention to detail
  • be able to cope with a crisis and make decisions
  • have good numerical ability
  • be physically fit

Entry

You do not always need to have academic qualifications to become a housekeeper. It is usual to have a background in the hospitality industry or relevant qualifications. It is possible to work your way up from room attendant, if you show the necessary skills in team work and communication.

Qualifications that may help you gain entry into this field at a supervisory level include HNC's, and SVQ qualifications in hospitality, hospitality supervision or hospitality and catering.

There are also HND, and degree courses in subjects like hospitality management, hotel and catering management, international or European hospitality management, and accommodation management with culinary arts. A qualification at this level may help you progress in your career to a senior management position.

Training

Training is usually on the job. You may be encouraged to undertake SVQ Level 2 in Housekeeping or Level3 Hospitality Supervision.

Apprenticeships may be available for those under the age of 24. (See Modern Apprenticships in the Funding section)

A list of courses Hospitality Training provide for Housekeepers can be found here.

Opportunities

Housekeepers tend to stay in their job for some time and so there are fewer vacancies than in other areas of the industry. There are more opportunities at a junior level but competition can be fierce.

There may be opportunities to move into a related job, such as front-of-house manager or training manager. There are also professional qualifications that can help with progression.

Once in the industry, related work such as domestic services management at a hospital, or facilities management at a university, may provide opportunities.

Some housekeepers become self-employed and run their own small hotel.

Hotel Room Attendant

The Work

Hotel room attendants ensure that hotel rooms are clean, tidy and inviting for guests. This includes:

  • changing bed linen and towels
  • making beds
  • vacuuming floors
  • treating stains, for example carpet stains or damage to polished wood
  • replenishing stocks of guest supplies such as shampoo and soap
  • re-stocking drinks in the mini-bar

In a small hotel, attendants are responsible to the housekeeper or housekeeping manager. In larger hotels, room attendants report to the floor housekeeper or assistant housekeeper. In the very smallest establishments the hotel owner or manager may supervise attendants, or might even do the job themselves.

Hours & Environment

There can be a lot of early starts, as well as some weekends and public holidays. Shift work is common - some hotels operate a 24-hour shift system. Part-time, seasonal and temporary work is common.

The job involves bending and stretching, and heavy tasks such as carrying loads of linen and turning mattresses.

Employers may provide a uniform.

Skills & Interests

As a room attendant you should be:

  • physically fit with plenty of stamina
  • prepared to work hard and to a high standard
  • able to work independently and as part of a team
  • able to work under pressure - guests may be waiting to occupy their room
  • methodical and able to pay attention to detail
  • polite and helpful when dealing with guests

Entry

You do not need any qualifications to become a room attendant. Employers will look for staff who are honest, hardworking and good timekeepers.

It will be useful if you have relevant experience, such as cleaning.

Training

You are usually trained on the job over several weeks or months.

You might be able to to work towards the following SVQs:

  • NVQ/SVQ Level 2 in Housekeeping
  • If you have supervisory duties you may be able to work towards NVQ/SVQ Level 3 in Hospitality Supervision

Apprenticeships may be available for those under the age of 24. Apprenticeships may be different in other areas. (See Modern Apprenticships in the Funding section)

A list of courses Hospitality Training provide for Hotel Room Attendants can be found here.

Opportunities

There are usually plenty of vacancies throughout the UK in:

  • hotels
  • guest houses
  • holiday centres
  • agencies
  • contract cleaning companies

Prospects for progression will depend on the size of the organisation. In small organisations, progressing may mean moving to a different employer. In larger organisations there are more likely to be opportunities to be promoted to supervisory and management jobs.