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BICSc in the eighties

‘A new beginning’ conference

John Dunington


During the 1980s, the challenges set by the New Beginnings conference provided some exciting times for the Institute. Looking forward, embracing new perspectives, and a fresh look for the future. Many possibilities were held, often in individual’s minds and not always practical or financially viable. 

Operationally, we should recognise the work done by John Dunington, who had the challenging role of being the first real director holding together the reins through shortage of funds and lack of support from several industry sections. Times were not easy, with finances at a perilous state for some time with overextension of available resources. At one time, the coveted Sholom Gordon Award was of such value it was used as collateral with the bank. An almost impossible role, but John was finally acknowledged for his work with the award of the Eric Hill Medal in 1995.

This time also saw the move of the Institute from its London roots to Northampton. Initially, the new home was George Row in the centre of the town.

Training was at the forefront of most BICSc activities through the 80s. There was the sterling work of the Training and Education Committee. A team who, at that time, were a separate entity from the Council. 

For many years it was headed by Dorothy (Inez) Butler (nee Oliver). They concentrated on the development and improvement of cleaning qualifications. The growth of the Cleaning Operator’s Proficiency Certificate scheme (COPC) was widely recognised throughout all sectors of the cleaning industry. It was the foundation of many training programmes, including the practical elements of the popular City and Guilds 764 (1 and 2) achieved by many in the cleaning industry, particularly healthcare and education roles.

It was clearly a foundation of cleaning operative learning by the mid 80s.

The 1980s also saw the birth of NVQ’s, but not with BICSc as a partner. The focus continued to provide skills-based qualifications. 1986 saw the formation of BICSc Open Learning courtesy of John Butler. 

Away from education, there were many fun times at the Institute too. The glamour of the Annual Awards were then often preceded by the traditional ‘golf day’.

Key events that happened in the eighties

Charles and Diana are married

The wreck of the titanic is found

The Berlin wall is torn down

Check out BICSc in the seventies

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