What they do
Laundry workers operate large industrial machines to wash, dry and press clothes and linens in a commercial laundry. When items arrive at the laundry they are marked using a customer's number, mark or a barcode for easy identification and tracking. After items have been recorded they are sorted according to colour, fabric and cleaning treatment. Laundry workers then load machines, programming the wash cycle according to the item care instructions. Cleaned items are then dried, either using tumble driers or by hanging them in a heated room. Dried laundry is then folded and may also be pressed using a specialised press. Laundry workers may also be responsible for carrying out basic maintenance work on the machines.
Laundry workers work in specialist commercial laundries or in the laundry department of a hotel, hospital or other organisation that produce large volumes of washing. These facilities are often warm and humid and some of the cleaning chemicals used can have strong fumes, though work areas are usually well ventilated. Laundry workers spend long periods on their feet, and are regularly required to lift heavy loads. Some laundry workers may drive vans or trucks to collect washing from customers and deliver the cleaned items when finished. Laundry workers are employed at facilities throughout Western Australia. The hours of work may vary, depending on the particular laundry. In some cases shift work - including nights and weekends - may be required.
Tools and technologies
Laundry workers use large, specially designed machines to wash and dry large volumes of clothing and linen. A variety of detergents, fabric softeners, bleach and stain removers are used, depending on the care requirements of the different items. They also use ironing and pressing equipment to remove creases from clean items and give them a crisp appearance. Large volumes of washing are usually transported around the facility using forklifts and motorised carts. Some laundries also use barcode technology to keep track of which items belong to which customer.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as a laundry worker without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in laundry operations or a related area.
The Certificate II and III in Laundry Operations are available at Western Australian registered training organisations. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.
You can also undertake a traineeship in laundry operations (level 2 or level 3). The traineeships usually take 18 to 36 months to complete, and the level 2 traineeship is available as a school-based traineeship.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.