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Laundry worker (general)

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Summary of occupation

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.

ANZSCO description: Sorts, cleans, irons, folds and packages linen, clothing and other garments in a commercial laundry.
Alternative names: Launderer
Specialisations: Folding Machine Operator, Linen Sorter
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A laundry worker needs:

  • good observation skills and attention to detail
  • to enjoy practical work
  • normal colour vision
  • a reasonable level of fitness
  • good time management skills.
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Working conditions

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.

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Salary details

On average, laundry workers can expect to earn between $680 and $726 per week ($35 355 and $37 747 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a laundry worker develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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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.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a laundry worker without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.

You can also complete a traineeship. The laundry operations traineeship takes 18 to 36 months to complete and is available as a school-based traineeship.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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