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Sodexo Launches Concierge Service for University Students

Sodexo Launches Concierge Service for University Students
30 September 2020
 

Sodexo has launched its concierge service, Circles, at two university campuses as part of its Residential Living programme.

Designed to give students a helping hand, the launch is timely following a new survey from Sodexo which reveals that students are finding it hard to adjust to life during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The launch also coincides with latest estimates that suggest 52 UK universities have had COVID cases so far since starting the new term. Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, told ministers that universities could move to online-only learning before term would usually end, to allow students self-isolating to join their families for the Christmas holidays.

 

Students Have Struggled With the Transition

 

This research, conducted in partnership with Youth Sight, polled 566 students both before (March) and during (June) the pandemic. The key highlights from the report include:

 

  • Whilst 75 per cent of university students felt satisfied with their lives before the pandemic, this dropped to 52 per cent during the pandemic.
  • Students are concerned about their ability to make new friends at university with social distancing measures in place.
  • Initiatives to facilitate safe socialising are deemed the second most important service they require, after good IT and study facilities.
  • Students have struggled with the transition to online/distance learning, with 39 per cent unhappy with the experience.
  • Over 3 in 4 were happy with contact time pre-COVID-19 but this dropped to a third during COVID-19. Similarly, whilst around half of students felt their university was value for money pre-COVID, now just under a quarter feel that way.
  • Fears about employability topped the list of concerns, with 50 per cent worried about their ability to get a job. 
     

From this month, students at two Sodexo-managed university accommodation facilities at Northumbria University and Bath Court at Birmingham University will be able to access personal assistance services such as arranging travel bookings, downtime suggestions and shopping through a dedicated portal or over the phone 24/7. The service is free to students, with no commission or booking fees; members only pay for what they purchase.

Circles will support students returning to university, enhancing their experience by helping them to settle into university life by taking away the burden of everyday life admin tasks.  The service will also provide an extra helping hand when their study workload increases or during stressful exam periods.

Jon Oxley, Assistant Director Estates and Facilities Services, Northumbria University said: “We are delighted to introduce Sodexo’s concierge offer at Northumbria University. Giving our students the opportunity to use this offer on such services such as travel arrangements, grocery shopping, arranging gifts for friends and family and additional cleaning services as and when they require, takes the Northumbria residential experience to a different level.

Picture: a photograph showing two students sitting in a communal area

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 30 September 2020

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