In recognition of National Apprenticeship Week (11-15 March), leading provider of on site service solutions, Sodexo has invited its partner Elmfield Training to tour four of its sites to showcase what apprenticeships can offer in a bid to increase its number of apprentices.

Sodexo currently has around 250 apprentices, learning a wide variety of roles from customer service, hospitality, retail to finance, engineering and horticultural services. The company is looking to extend this to around 400 by June.

Apprenticeships help young people develop their skills and careers, and at Sodexo it is looking to increase the number of its existing employees on apprenticeships in addition to recruiting young people into existing or new vacancies.

One of Sodexo's current apprentices, Richard James, aged 24, has found a new lease of life from his apprenticeship. Richard started with Sodexo as a kitchen porter with Royal Marines Poole two years ago. “Since I started my apprenticeship I feel very excited,” Richard explained. “If I am successful it means the qualification will help me get to where I want to be. I want to be a head chef one day.

Richard's assessor Graham Wilkinson from Sodexo's partner Elmfield Training adds: “Richard seems to have an aim in life now. He is very eager to learn and has been putting in his own time to learn new skills. He is always waiting for me to arrive and is keen to show me what he has done since my last visit. He also has a great support team around him who are willing to give their own time to ensure that he achieves his aim.”

Sodexo has provided apprenticeship programmes for some time but last Autumn relaunched its programme when it partnered with Elmfield Training, who provide an assessor to support and mentor the apprentices which ensures there is minimal impact on Sodexo's managers.

Another success story is Pawel Danisiewicz, aged 25. Pawel joined Sodexo when he was 18, last summer he completed his NVQ courses and is now employed by Sodexo as a chef supervisor. Pawel explains: “when I joined I had little experience in the catering industry, but soon realised the company offered some good chances to develop and I was encouraged to sign up. Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to prove that they can build something and show everybody that, regardless of age or nationality, they can achieve their goals. I am so thankful for the support I've had - to be where I am now feels great.”



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