Interview With Sheila, Founder Of Source Training: Elevating Standards In Luxury Cleaning And Laundry

We had the privilege of sitting down with Sheila, the visionary founder behind Source Training, a pioneering platform that offers specialised training for luxury cleaning and laundry personnel in the yachting, chalet, and hotel industries. With decades of experience in the yachting world and a passion for preserving nature, Sheila shared her journey and insights into the need for professional training in these essential roles.

By Sam Jurgensen • 31 August 2023

Q: Can you tell us more about yourself, your team, and how Source Training came to be? 

Sheila: I’ve always had a deep connection with the ocean and a solid environmentalist spirit. After spending years working as a stewardess and witnessing the growth of the luxury yachting industry, I founded my first business, EYS – Environmental Yacht Services. This venture supplied eco-friendly products to yachts worldwide, driven by my commitment to preserving nature. 

Throughout my journey, I identified a significant gap in knowledge and training for laundry and cleaning personnel in luxury hospitality. This realisation fuelled the creation of Source Training. I collaborated with top luxury cleaning and laundry experts to design unique and insightful courses tailored to the needs of professionals in these roles. 

Q: Why do you think many individuals working in positions such as yachts, chalets, or luxury hotels often struggle to find time for training on the job? 

Sheila: Positions in housekeeping often assume that individuals inherently know how to clean. Unfortunately, there is a lack of professional training available for cleaning, laundry, and housekeeping, leaving employees to learn on the job. Department heads typically provide initial training based on their own experiences, which may not always align with best practices. 

Q: Could you elaborate on the specific skills and knowledge participants will acquire upon completing the courses? 

Sheila: The luxury industry demands exceptional standards in cleaning and laundry. Participants in our courses acquire foundational knowledge and skills that can be adapted to specific standards and requirements of yachts, villas, or hotels. For instance, in the cleaning course, students learn "Sheila’s cleaning method," which involves understanding surface types and choosing appropriate cleaning chemicals, methods, and equipment. Similarly, our laundry course focuses on fabric understanding, garment labelling, and detergent selection. This knowledge empowers participants to excel in their roles with confidence. 

Q: What is the assessment process like, and what kind of certificates will participants receive upon successfully completing the courses? 

Sheila: Source Training provides its own certification. Professional instructional designers meticulously designed our online courses, ensuring assessments align with course content. We’re excited to introduce a hybrid approach soon, combining online training with on-site workshops to reinforce practical skills. This blended approach will offer a comprehensive learning experience. 

Q: The yachting world is full of talented and skilled professionals; have any stood out to you over the years? 

Sheila: In my over 40 years in the yachting industry, I’ve encountered numerous talented individuals who contribute uniquely to the field. Each person brings their expertise, making this industry genuinely diverse and inspiring. 

Q: Your deep love for the ocean and environmentalist spirit are truly inspiring. Can you share a memorable experience that reinforced your commitment to preserving nature and led you to launch EYS – Environmental Yacht Services? 

Sheila: My environmental passion predates my involvement in yachting. Over the years, I observed that as yachts grew in size, the volume of waste they generated increased significantly. This realisation struck me during the Monaco Grand Prix when I calculated the vast amount of wastewater being discharged into the port. This motivated me to launch EYS and advocate for sustainable practices in cleaning and laundry, particularly in an industry where small changes can have a significant positive impact. 

Q: As a former stewardess, you understand the challenges of juggling multiple responsibilities. Could you share a humorous incident from your time on a yacht highlighting the need for specialised training for laundry and cleaning personnel? 

Sheila: Absolutely; in my early days on a yacht, I used furniture polish to clean wood surfaces, inspired by my mother’s practices at home. After weeks of this, I realised the wood was dull, sticky, and collecting dust. It took me two days of washing to correct my mistake. This experience underscores the need for specialised training, as even seemingly basic tasks can have nuances in a luxury setting. 

Q: To anyone who has ever underestimated the art of luxury cleaning and laundry, what’s a surprising fact you’ve learned from your experiences that would make them rethink their perspective on these crucial roles? 

Sheila: When engaged in luxury cleaning and laundry, we’re not just cleaning surfaces; we’re caring for someone’s prized possessions. It’s not just about the yacht or villa—it’s about respecting and maintaining the owner’s assets to the highest standards. 

Q: After being part of the yachting world for over 40 years, could you recount a standout story of a talented professional who excelled in their role and left a remarkable mark on the industry? 

Sheila: In this industry, every individual, whether a crew member, broker, or agent, leaves their mark. It’s a reminder that we all are responsible for protecting the ocean, as it sustains us all directly or indirectly. 

Sheila’s dedication to professionalising luxury cleaning and laundry services is genuinely inspiring. Source Training stands as a testament to her vision, providing an invaluable resource for individuals striving to excel in these essential roles while upholding the industry’s standards and environmental sustainability.