A single-minded focus on improving student experience

It’s more than three years since Sodexo launched Student Living by Sodexo, an large portfolio of facilities management services

Student Living by Sodexo is an integrated offer which incorporates services such as reception, helpdesk, energy management, mechanical and electrical maintenance, cleaning and horticultural services, in addition to advertising and letting of rooms and financial management.

Having operated student accommodation contracts for 20 years, Sodexo has substantial experience in the sector. Long- standing university clients are now joined by partners in the private sector. Sodexo’s ability to work with universities directly, as a member of consortia, or with private sector partners, means we can engage in all elements of student accommodation provision.

In recent years, Sodexo has increased its work with South Street Asset Management and Infrastructure Investments Ltd as well as engaging with Northumbria University in Newcastle, where Sodexo signed a deal to provide FM services at the university’s Trinity Square 993-bed student accommodation. Sodexo is now managing 7,500 beds in total and has set itself the target of reaching 20,000 beds by 2020.

Peter Taylor (below) strategic development director for Sodexo’s universities business comments: “What sets us apart from the competition is our single-minded focus on improving student experience. We have a whole series of initiatives in place to support universities; everything from having Student Experience Managers on the ground to help manage relationships with students, through to offering employment opportunities and internships. Our Student Board of Directors is also involved in determining areas of student experience we can focus on.”

Sodexo has recently won a five-year contract to provide integrated facilities management services at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance in Lamorbey Park, Sidcup. The international drama school has 600 students from over 40 different countries and has invested in 168 new high specification en-suite rooms to improve student experience and prepare for an increase in international students. In a significant step forward for Student Living by Sodexo, it is the first contract for which the business will manage the marketing, rent collection and room allocations in addition to the provision of FM services.

Another recent addition to the Student Living by Sodexo portfolio is the landmark St George’s ‘Blue Tower’ in Leicester. The building is leased to teaching company Study Group, which works closely with the University of Leicester, and the top half of the tower houses newly-renovated student accommodation for 164 overseas students managed by Sodexo.

As well as providing a soft FM and security service to the students and staff of the college and residential tower, the Sodexo team also provide security to the whole building which currently includes a Premier Inn hotel, restaurant, private apartments and vacant commercial space. 

Taylor concludes: “We’ve found that with the sharp rise in university fees, student expectations of facilities and services at university have gone up dramatically. Sodexo’s ability to deliver excellent integrated services and facilities and to work with our clients on improving student experience means that we offer a really strong integrated management services proposition.

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