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General Education and Training Certificate – Hygiene and Cleaning – Level 1 – 57937

Purpose and rationale of the qualification 


The primary purpose of this qualification is to develop in a learner, the foundational, practical and reflexive competencies required for a career in the Hygiene & Cleaning Services Industry.

Central to the qualification is the development of a culture of quality service and professionalism in a cleaning services environment. This qualification intends to produce cleaners who can find gainful employment in the cleaning industry.

This qualification will enable learners to access learning in a related field (e.g. Hospitality, Health Care, Wholesale and Retail, Food Production or Manufacturing etc) or a related branch of cleaning (e.g. Industrial, Hospital, Car Wash, Dry Cleaning and Laundry, Garden Services, Aircraft Cleaning or Textile Cleaning etc.).


The range of typical learners will include cleaners, team leaders, supervisors, temporary or relief cleaners and emerging entrepreneurs who currently, or who aspire, to operate in the cleaning industry at large.

It is recognised that Cleaning is a ‘feeder’ industry from which learners can move into other related sectors.

This qualification is designed as the first qualification in the learning pathway in the cleaning sector and is suited to the following occupations:

  • Cleaner
  • Laundry assistant
  • Car wash attendant
  • Garden services
  • Relief cleaner
  • Room attendants
  • Ward hostess
  • Domestic worker
  • Sculler

The second qualification in the sector is suited to the following occupations:

  • Specialist cleaners in the cleaning industry (notably Textile, Laundry, Industrial and Health Care Cleaning)
  • Team Leaders
  • Care givers

Thereafter learners will access management qualifications, as they will assume positions of greater responsibility for the work of others in a team, company or organisation. They could move up to positions such as:

  • Municipal Waste/Environmental Health Officer
  • Operations Manager in the Contract Cleaning Industry
  • Laundry Manager
  • Environmental Officer/Assembly Line Manufacturing
  • Self-employment as independent cleaning contractor in the elective field of learning (e.g. Laundry, Contract Cleaning etc.)
  • Housekeeping Manager (Health Care Facilities, etc.)
  • Food Safety Officer (Food Production Facilities)
  • Internal auditor (quality systems) in the cleaning industry

This qualification will help to transform the Cleaning Services Industry by:

  • Learners continually improving and projecting a professional image
  • Instilling a culture of awareness that a clean, hygienic and safe environment will improve the quality of life for all South Africans
  • Promoting international/world class standards and best practice in the cleaning sector

The qualification aims to:

  • Allow employees within the industry to identify and pursue a career within the Hygiene and Cleaning Industry
  • Provide a vehicle to enhance the dignity of workers in this industry and develop their sense of pride and job satisfaction
  • Develop a better understanding of the industry amongst employees
  • Enhance a code of ethics that includes viable and sustainable environmental management practices
  • Provide consistent quality and safety standards
  • Educate learners, clients and society at large about hygiene, for the purpose of improving general health by implementing best practice cleaning methods
  • Expose aspirant entrepreneurs to opportunities to enter the formalised cleaning industry thus stimulating the economy

Learning assumed to be in place and recognition of prior learning 

As this is an NQF Level 1 qualification and therefore the starting point of a career and of training and development in the cleaning industry, no formal learning is assumed to be in place. It is preferable however that a learner accessing this qualification has attained competence in Communication and Mathematical Literacy at ABET Level 2 or the equivalent.

Recognition of Prior Learning

This qualification can be achieved wholly or in part through the Recognition of Prior Learning.

RPL is particularly relevant for the recognition of knowledge and skills acquired over many years in the workplace for those already employed but who have no formal qualification. RPL will allow those persons to accumulate credits against Unit Standards in this Qualification for what they already know and can do.

The way in which prior learning will be assessed and/or determined will be agreed to jointly by the assessor and the learner in question. Use could be made of on-the-job tasks, the submission of a portfolio of evidence and summative assessment tools such as a written test. The techniques and tools that would be used for assessment of learners who have accessed the Qualification would be applicable to those wishing to undergo an RPL exercise.

The emphasis in RPL must be to give the learner every opportunity to demonstrate competence in the Specific Outcomes of the Unit Standards and the Exit Level Outcomes of the Qualification. 

Recognise previous learning? 

Qualification rules 

To be awarded the Qualification learners are required to obtain a minimum of 120 credits as detailed below.

Fundamental Component

The Fundamental Component consists of Unit Standards in: • Mathematical Literacy at Level 1 to the value of 16 credits.

  • Communication at Level 1 to the value of 23 credits

All Unit Standards in the Fundamental Component are compulsory.

Core Component

The Core Component consists of Unit Standards to the value of 68 credits all of which are compulsory.

Elective Component

The Elective Component consists of individual unit standards from which the learner must choose unit standards totalling a minimum of 13 credits.

Exit level outcomes 

  • Recognise the importance of a healthy lifestyle by accepting own responsibility for life skills and wellness including HIV/AIDS.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the application of cleaning principles according to international/world class standards and best practice.
  • Clean generalised areas using cleaning principles according to international/world class standards and best practice.
  • Clean ablution areas using cleaning principles according to international/world class standards and best practice.
  • Clean floors using cleaning principles according to international/world class standards and best practice.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of and apply environmental awareness during the cleaning process.

Critical Cross-Field outcomes

The Critical Cross-Field Outcomes are addressed throughout the individual Unit Standards. Any indication of how this can be done is indicated in each Unit Standard. 

Associated assessment criteria 

  • Health issues and their impact on the quality of life are understood in relation to self, family and community.
  • Personal financial planning is understood and performed using basic financial principles.
  • Work output is in line with specified cleaning requirements and quality principles.
  • Chemicals are used according to specified cleaning requirements and safety principles.
  • Customer requirements are met in accordance with service level expectations.
  • Above the floor surfaces inside a building are cleaned according to the surface type and best cleaning practice.
  • Exterior areas around buildings are cleaned according to the surface type and best cleaning practice.
  • Small kitchens are cleaned according to the surface type and best cleaning practice.
  • Toilets and urinals are cleaned according to the surface type and best cleaning practice.
  • Baths, showers and basins are cleaned according to the surface type and best cleaning practice.
  • Restrooms fixtures and fittings are cleaned according to the surface type and best cleaning practice.
  • Hard floors are cleaned according to the surface type and best cleaning practice.
  • Resilient floors are cleaned according to the surface type and best cleaning practice.
  • Textile floors are cleaned according to the surface type and best cleaning practice.
  • Waste is managed during the cleaning process according to environmental principles.
  • Environmental issues are understood in relation to the cleaning process and applicable regulations.

Integrated assessment

The assessment of competence in the cleaning industry needs to remain practical in nature, and should be conducted in the workplace, as far as possible.

There is a need for two kinds of assessment

  • Formative assessment: Ongoing formative assessment, aimed at the development of learners.
  • Summative assessment: In which it can be seen whether under real life working conditions and in the presence of an industry-based assessor, a learner is able to demonstrate competency against a particular unit standard. The summative assessment can also be used as a diagnostic assessment tool aimed at identifying the learner’s skills gaps.

International comparability 

The competencies in this Qualification were compared with what are regarded by the South African industry as best practice internationally. The content of training offered by the following internationally renowned organisations was regarded as useful for the comparability exercise:

  • The International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) courses which include the following:
  • Cleaning Basics A to Z Ref: 21016
  • Carpet Care/Hard Floor Care
  • Health Care Sanitation
  • Clean Room Training
  • The History of Sanitation – Ref: 10092
  • The International Association for Continuing Education and Training – IACET
  • The Centre for Disease Control (CDC)
  • Guideline for Hand Washing and Hospital Environmental
  • Swiss Cleaning Technology – ISBN Code: 3-908678-04-8
  • The Finnish Association of Cleaning Technology
  • European Legislation for the Cleaning and Maintenance Industry – International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) 2000

Competencies contained in the above courses/programmes and legislations were used for the purposes of comparison but informed the Exit Level Outcomes of the Qualification, its constituent Unit Standards and their Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria. Learners accessing this Qualification should develop the same competencies as are offered to and that are demanded of workers in this sector internationally.

Articulation options 

Horizontal Articulation:

This qualification articulates well with the National Certificate: Domestic Services, Level 1.

Vertical Articulation:

This qualification articulates vertically with:

  • National Certificate: Accommodation Service, Level 2, 14110.
  • National Certificate: Occupational Safety, Hygiene and Environment, Level 2, 48804.

Moderation options 

  • Anyone assessing a learner or moderating the assessment of a learner against this Qualification must be registered as an assessor with the relevant Education, Training, Quality, Assurance (ETQA) Body, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Any institution offering learning that will enable the achievement of this Qualification must be accredited as a provider with the relevant Education, Training, Quality, Assurance (ETQA) Body, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Assessment and moderation of assessment will be overseen by the relevant Education, Training, Quality, Assurance (ETQA) Body, or by an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA, according to the ETQA’s policies and guidelines for assessment and moderation.
  • Moderation must include both internal and external moderation of assessments at exit points of the Qualification, unless ETQA policies specify otherwise. Moderation should also encompass achievement of the competence described both in individual Unit Standards as well as the integrated competence described in the Qualification.
  • Anyone wishing to be assessed against this Qualification may apply to be assessed by any assessment agency, assessor or provider institution that is accredited by the relevant ETQA.

Criteria for the registration of assessors 

Assessors and moderators for this qualification should:

  • Be registered as an assessor with the relevant ETQA.
  • Be in possession of a relevant qualification at NQF level 2 or higher.

Reregistration history 

As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this qualification was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 


This qualification replaces qualification 20173, “National Certificate: Hygiene and Cleaning”, Level 1, 120 credits. 

Unit standards

Unit Standard TypeUnit Standard CodeUnit Standard TitlePRE-2009 NQF LevelNQF LevelCredits
Core243199 Clean above the floor surfaces Level 1 NQF Level 01
Core 243206 Clean toilets and bathrooms Level 1 NQF Level 01
Core 243189 Manage personal finances Level 1 NQF Level 01
Core 243193 Practice good health and grooming habits Level 1 NQF Level 01
Core 243195 Provide good customer service in a cleaning services environment Level 1 NQF Level 01
Core 243197 Remove spots and spillages from carpets and upholstery Level 1 NQF Level 01
Core 243194 Sweep floors Level 1 NQF Level 01
Core 243204 Understand basic cleaning principles Level 1 NQF Level 0115 
Core 243203 Use chemicals in the cleaning services environment Level 1 NQF Level 01
Core 243201 Vacuum dry surfaces Level 1 NQF Level 01
Core 243198 Wet mop floors Level 1 NQF Level 01
Core 114936 Participate effectively in a team or group Level 2 NQF Level 02
Fundamental 7464 Analyse cultural products and processes as representations of shape, space and time Level 1 NQF Level 01
Fundamental 7451 Collect, analyse, use and communicate numerical data Level 1 NQF Level 01
Fundamental 7449 Critically analyse how mathematics is used in social, political and economic relations Level 1 NQF Level 01
Fundamental 14084 Demonstrate an understanding of and use the numbering system Level 1 NQF Level 01
Fundamental 7463 Describe and represent objects and the environment in terms of shape, space, time and motion Level 1 NQF Level 01
Fundamental 119635 Engage in a range of speaking/signing and listening interactions for a variety of purposes Level 1 NQF Level 01
Fundamental 119631 Explore and use a variety of strategies to learn Level 1 NQF Level 01
Fundamental 119640 Read/view and respond to a range of text types Level 1 NQF Level 01
Fundamental 7461 Use maps to access and communicate information concerning routes, location and direction Level 1 NQF Level 01
Fundamental 7447 Working with numbers in various contexts Level 1 NQF Level 01
Fundamental 119636 Write/sign for a variety of different purposes Level 1 NQF Level 01
Elective 243202 Clean floors using a single disc machine Level 1 NQF Level 01
Elective 243205 Clean kitchens Level 1 NQF Level 01
Elective 243207 Clean windows Level 1 NQF Level 01
Elective 14659 Demonstrate an understanding of factors that contribute towards healthy living Level 1 NQF Level 01
Elective 14656 Demonstrate an understanding of sexuality and sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS Level 1 NQF Level 01
Elective 229998 Explain and perform fall arrest techniques when working at height Level 1 NQF Level 01
Elective 243191 Portray a professional image within a cleaning team Level 1 NQF Level 01
Elective 9909 Identify and process waste Level 2 NQF Level 02
Elective 229995 Install, use and perform basic rescues from fall arrest systems and implement the fall protection plan Level 2 NQF Level 02
Elective 115091 Monitor compliance to safety, health and environmental requirements in a workplace Level 2 NQF Level 02
Elective 230000 Perform a limited range of rope access tasks and rescues Level 2 NQF Level 02
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