Sodexo UK & Ireland is forming a Student Board of Directors (SBOD) who will be challenged with creating a new food offer for the student market.
Sodexo is employing the students for the next academic year, tasking them with developing a new food offer for the universities market to be rolled out in September 2015.
The project will take the students through the marketing cycle, including research, developing and delivering an agency brief and making final proposals to Sodexo.
The initiative is based on Sodexo USA's SBOD programme, which has been running for six years. Under the system, the student board has worked with US universities' development teams to generate new ideas and build on existing concepts. SBOD members have also worked with Sodexo teams on catering accounts at 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 University College London and a member of the new SBOD, said: "The opportunity complements everything I am learning at university and will give me a great insight into the world of work.
Paul Anstey, Sodexo's managing director for commercial education, added: "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 â¦ is a great way for our student directors to engage with the world of work and develop skills that will benefit them as they start to look for employment."
Sodexo recently announced 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.
Since 2004, the contractor has been running the Sodexo University Lifestyle Survey, a biannual survey of students from universities across the UK conducted in association with Times Higher Education. The survey covers everything from how students choose their university, through to funding a university education and student lifestyle and eating habits.