Leading training provider The Skills Network has launched a strategic partnership with Sodexo, the world’s largest services company, to improve mental health awareness in schools and universities across the UK.
The Skills Network, who specialise in online distance learning, has teamed up with Sodexo to deliver free mental health training to employees working its schools and universities business across the UK and Ireland.
Sodexo, who are partnered with over 30 UK universities and focus on improving student experience, provide a range of contracted services across in catering and hospitality, facilities management and student accommodation nationwide.
The new initiative aims to develop an enhanced understanding of mental well-being among Sodexo employees, for staff to then better identify the signs and symptoms of mental ill health among students and colleagues.
The launch of the partnership also supports to address the campus mental health crisis currently facing UK universities. The number of students seeking mental health support services rose by 50% between 2012 and 2017, and in 2015/2016 over 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 member”.
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.”