Sodexo, the world’s largest services company, has launched a strategic partnership with leading training provider The Skills Network to improve their employees’ awareness of mental health.

Sodexo has teamed up with The Skills Network, which specialises in online distance learning, to offer the free training to employees working in its schools and universities business across the UK and Ireland.

The new initiative aims to develop an enhanced understanding of mental wellbeing among Sodexo employees, who can then better identify the signs and symptoms of mental ill health among their colleagues and potentially even students. 

The number of students seeking mental health support services rose by 50% between 2012 and 2017, and in 2015/2016 more than 15,000 first-year students reported a mental health problem.

Laura Burgess, HR Director for Sodexo Schools and Universities, said: “Our schools and universities employees have the privilege of working with young people every day. With 1 in 10 young people having a mental health diagnosis, we feel it’s our duty to support our employees by giving them opportunities to better understand this important topic. 

“While this isn’t about diagnosing mental health illness, the training will help our employees spot the signs of potential problems so that they can raise it with a student’s school or university, or signpost their colleagues to support within Sodexo. 

We believe having a better understanding of mental health will have a positive impact on the young people we work with and our team members.

James Earl, Sales Director at The Skills Network, said: “We’re delighted to launch such a powerful and meaningful project with one of the world’s largest employers. We believe that what we have embarked on will make a huge difference to the awareness of mental health within the organisation and look forward to seeing the positive results it can bring to all stakeholders within Sodexo.”

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