Sodexo has enrolled a student board of directors who will be tasked with developing a brand new food offer for the student market, to be launched in universities in September 2015.
In total, seven students, have been recruited from the University of Bradford, Brunel University and University College London – at which Sodexo has catering and FM contracts – and also Salford
University, and will be employed by Sodexo for the next academic year.
The project is split into several assignments which will take the students through the whole marketing cycle, including research, developing and delivering an agency brief and making final proposals to Sodexo.
The student board of director (SBOD) programme is something that Sodexo USA has been running successfully for six years. In the US, the student board has worked with US universities offer development team to generate new ideas and build upon existing concepts. SBOD members have also worked in conjunction with Sodexo colleagues in support of the wider management of the catering accounts on their campuses, participating in sales presentations and supporting marketing activities. Several SBOD members have been taken on by Sodexo after serving on the board either for internships or permanent roles.
Adrian Gonzalez, biochemical engineering student at UCL and a member of the SBOD said;
“I was really attracted to the challenges of this position and the high level of trust and responsibility that comes with it. The opportunity really complements everything I am learning at university and will give me a great insight into the world of work. Food and eating is a really important part of my life. The kitchen was the epicentre of our home and cooking, baking and, of course, eating was our way of socialising. I am sure I can draw on all that experience and passion for food to help succeed in the project. Hopefully as a board we can come up with something remarkable.’
Paul Anstey, Sodexo’s managing director for commercial education said:
“This is an exciting project for us. It offers us a unique opportunity to engage with our student consumers, both in terms of building the direct relationships with our SBOD directors and through leveraging the relationships of our directors with their peers and benefitting from their experiences of life on campus.
“We are finding that increasingly students view themselves as consumers and want to help shape their university experience and the commercial offers available to them. The SBOD project will enable us to harness the creativity and insight of the students we are serving, whilst giving our directors an excellent introduction into the world of business and the opportunity to take on a real-life marketing challenge. This is a great way for our student directors to engage with the world of work and develop skills that will really benefit them as they start to look for employment.”
Sodexo has more than 50 years’ experience in the university sector and has a healthy portfolio of clients. The company has announced this year large contracts with University College London and City University London for retail catering and hospitality services, and a four-year facilities management contract with Northumbria University, Newcastle.