Sodexo Universities has strengthened its student accommodation team with the appointments of Steve Hawkins and Sophie Austin.

Steve Hawkins (pictured) is appointed as the European divisional director of Student Living by Sodexo and Sophie Austin as sales and marketing manager as part of its bid to accelerate growth both in the UK and Europe.

Steve joined Sodexo in 2013 as Account Director for Universities from Resource Services Group. During his time with Sodexo Steve has shaped the growth ambitions of Student Living by Sodexo, growing the portfolio and developing the value proposition.

Sophie was previously a Student Experience Manager for Sodexo at City University, responsible for student engagement.  In her new role as Sales and Marketing Manager for Student Living, Sophie will manage the marketing and communications campaigns for the Student Living portfolio in the UK.

Student Living was first launched in the UK at the end of 2013 and brings together the provision of an extensive portfolio of services from marketing, bookings, lettings and finance management, student services such as pastoral care and helpdesk, through to facilities management including preventative and reactive maintenance, waste management, and commercial, catering and retail services.

Over the last three years Sodexo has steadily built its portfolio of the number of student beds it manages in the UK to almost 10,000. Clients include Northumbria University, Rose Bruford College, London; University of Greenwich, London and St George’s Tower, Leicester.

Student Living by Sodexo launched its offering into the American Universities market in September 2016. According to the US National Center for Education Statistics, in 2016, some 20.5 million students are expected to attend American colleges and universities, an increase of about 5.2 million since 2000.

Paul Anstey, CEO, Sodexo Universities in UK & Ireland, Nordics & Benelux Regions, said: “Leaving the familiarity of home and transitioning to campus life can be a challenging adjustment for students. Satisfaction with housing accommodations significantly impacts student retention, with nearly one-third of students dropping out of college or transferring to another institution after their first year.

“Steve has been instrumental in the growth of the Student Living by Sodexo brand over the last three years and I am sure he will build on this success as we focus on our ambition to accelerate growth across the UK and look to expand our proposition into Europe.

“Sophie has been with Sodexo since her university days, so her insight into student life will be invaluable in helping to help develop our student offering.”

Sodexo’s dynamic approach to fulfilling a reimagined university lifestyle aims to deliver a myriad of benefits for the entire campus community to include:

  • Higher occupancy rate
  • Enhanced student satisfaction and well-being
  • Increases sense of student safety
  • Improved retention rates
  • Efficient, streamlined management of student life services
  • Improved academic performance
  • Consistent revenue stream

Since 2004 Sodexo has surveyed 2,000 undergraduate students in the UK every two years regarding all aspects of student life, this insight has helped Sodexo develop its Student Living offer which is focused on improving students’ quality of life and ensuring a positive student experience.

Globally, Sodexo partners with nearly 1,600 colleges and universities providing integrated facilities management and food services.

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