Chris Wins Trainee of the Year!

The Laundry & Dry Cleaning Awards 2017 (The LADAs) took place at Mercedes-Benz World, Brooklands in Surrey, on Thursday 2nd November and we were so pleased to see our own Chris Francis amongst the winners – winning the coveted Trainee Of The Year Award.

Here’s what Chris had to say when he was interviewed about his win:

I really didn’t expect to win! When arriving at the awards it didn’t even cross my mind that I could win. So, hearing my name being read out as the winner of the award was mind-blowing. At that moment it felt as though my job had turned into a career, to have all of the work and long hours recognised – not only by my employer but also the entire industry. It was a fantastic feeling. Many of the laundry industry veterans approached me and congratulated me, and it felt as though I was making my first big step towards solidifying myself in a rapidly expanding sector. Overall, winning in this category is one of my biggest achievements and the award sits proudly at home right next to my university diploma.
After graduating from University with a Chemistry degree I was eager to see what the job search had in store for me. However, I was disappointed to see that many different employers in a broad range of industries had no interest in a fresh graduate, they only wanted people with 5+ years experience in their specific field. So when I interviewed at Ideal Manufacturing it was refreshing to see that Mike and Phillip were eager to hire a graduate and invest in them in order to bring new people into the industry. Knowing that my employer has invested their time and resources into bringing me up to the industry standard – I have, in turn, a much larger commitment and sense of loyalty to them.
I’ve found that the laundry/textile care industry, particularly from a manufacturers point of view, is very small. I hear the same names and see the same faces on a regular basis, and it seems that everyone knows each other. While this is nice and creates a sense of community it presents a problem in the fact that it is a very ageing industry. In my short time at Ideal, I’ve started to see the passing of the torch in many independent family run businesses. There are many talented people within in this industry with decades worth of knowledge, however, without people there to replace them then their knowledge is lost. So it is of the utmost importance that this industry receive an injection of fresh talent to preserve it’s future and also provide new insights and innovations.

The LADAs (Laundry & Dry Cleaning Awards)

The LADAS were the first independent awards committed to rewarding industry suppliers, launderers, dry cleaners and more.

The LADAs were designed to recognise exceptional individuals, companies and products in the laundry and cleaning industry. The awards first launched in 2015, and aim to celebrate skills, recognise hard work, identify role models and either give encouragement for future careers, or recognise past contributions for companies and individuals in the professional textile care industry. All nominees are asked to show how they meet the criteria for each award through a simple series of questions.


  • Trainee/apprentice of the year
  • Most innovative company
  • Most environmental and sustainable company
  • Training and education in the workplace
  • Lifetime contribution
  • Best newcomer to the industry
  • Best new product
  • Machinery distributor of the year
  • Commercial laundry of the year