Cleaning firms tapping tech to lift productivity

ST VIDEO: NG JUN SEN
Mr Tan donning a pair of virtual reality goggles as he polishes his skills. Training has allowed him to climb the ranks at local firm Ministry of Clean, and he is now a supervisor after eight years on the job. Singapore Polytechnic students Gary Seah
Mr Tan donning a pair of virtual reality goggles as he polishes his skills. Training has allowed him to climb the ranks at local firm Ministry of Clean, and he is now a supervisor after eight years on the job.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Mr Tan donning a pair of virtual reality goggles as he polishes his skills. Training has allowed him to climb the ranks at local firm Ministry of Clean, and he is now a supervisor after eight years on the job. Singapore Polytechnic students Gary Seah
Singapore Polytechnic students Gary Seah (far left), 19, and Kenze Wee, 18, are members of a team that put together a virtual reality training course for cleaners such as Mr Albert Tan. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

To beat labour crunch and competition, they are using tools such as VR to upskill workers and raise their wages

Instead of brandishing a mop and bucket, cleaner Albert Tan's only tool during a recent training stint was a pair of virtual reality (VR) goggles, which the 60-year-old donned to practise wiping down virtual toilet bowls.

For the past year, Mr Tan and 60 cleaners at local firm Ministry of Clean have been picking up cleaning skills in a three-dimensional environment under a VR training course, with the hope that polishing their skills can lead to better career prospects and higher wages.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2018, with the headline 'Cleaning firms tapping tech to lift productivity'. Print Edition | Subscribe