Sodexo\u2019s corporate services business has joined forces with hospitality training provider HIT Training to launch a new development programme to support and develop the next generation of facilities management leaders.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe new programme has been created to offer a structured apprenticeship journey for qualifying existing employees and new recruits to complete either a customer service practitioner or customer service specialist apprenticeship.\r\n\r\nBoth apprenticeships are 18-month courses and include an IWFM accredited facilities services qualification, level 2 certificate for practitioner apprentices and level 3 certification for the customer service specialist cohort.\r\n\r\nThe aim of the new Futures programme is to provide employees with the skills, capability and attitude to deliver facilities management focused on people and experiences, rather than buildings and services. Each participant on the Futures programme will be employed in a permanent role with Sodexo with the programme comprising mainly on-the-job training, with around 20% of the learning completed off-site.\r\n\r\nOn completion of the programme, graduates will be able to build their career within Sodexo and using the skills acquired from the course will act as a customer service specialist within their team. They will gather and analyse data and customer insight in order to drive innovation and deliver more strategic, employee-focused partnerships.\r\n\r\nKim Leahy, HR director, corporate services, Sodexo UK and Ireland, said: \u201cThis new development programme is a really important part of our people strategy. We are committed to supporting and developing the next generation of leaders for our business. To achieve this, we truly believe customer service skills are crucial in the delivery of workplace experience and consumer driven FM.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe acknowledge that to succeed we need to give people the right skills and attributes to deliver against our clients\u2019 needs now and into the future. We are really looking forward to welcoming our first cohort of apprentices and see this new programme as a way we can kick start along and rewarding career at Sodexo.\u201d\r\n\r\nAs part of its Public Service Pledge, Sodexo has committed to engage 850 apprentices every year, the new Futures programme is just one of many apprenticeship programmes. With the training and development of employees a key commitment, the company supports apprenticeships at all levels and across a range of skills from chefs and hospitality managers to project management and property maintenance.