Sodexo marks UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities

December 02, 2016

Sodexo is marking tomorrow's United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities by highlighting its partnership with Havering College.

Paul Anstey

Three young people from Havering College are now employed by Sodexo at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, having taken part in an intern partnership.

Sodexo has made a global commitment all of its workforce will have access to programmes for people with disabilities by 2025.

The intern partnership between Sodexo and Havering College started last year. Six young people took on 240 hours internship and some work experience at Queen’s Hospital.

The scheme was so successful that this year Sodexo is taking on 12 young people across two Barking Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust – Queen’s Hospital and King George Hospital, Ilford.

Each student is supported by a job coach from Havering College, and works with a Sodexo buddy. Sodexo employees involved receive specific training around disability awareness and communication skills.

Disability is one of the six work streams with the Sodexo UK & Ireland diversity and inclusion strategy. In June, Sodexo launched a disability taskforce to ensure thinking about disability becomes integrated into policies, practices and behaviours.

This is one of a series of supported internship schemes Sodexo UK & Ireland operates across its business in partnership with clients.

Paul Anstey, CEO Schools & Universities and executive sponsor of the disability work stream, said:  “One in six people in the world have some form of disability so many of our colleagues, clients and customers will either be personally affected or close to someone who is. By opening up to disability, we have the opportunity to understand how we can better attract, recruit, retain and serve people with disabilities and contribute to improving Quality of Life.”

Sylvia Smith, Programme Manager Enterprise and Employability at Havering College, said: “Sodexo’s approach towards Foundation Skills students from Havering College is geared towards what they can do and not what they cannot do because of their disability. Sodexo's enthusiasm and commitment towards offering work experience and paid employment opportunities is a direct result of a whole team approach, a shared vision of Havering College and Sodexo.”

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