Supporting the Armed Forces

As a leading supplier of quality of life services to the Ministry of Defence, we believe we are well-placed to support regular and reserve forces, ex-forces personnel and military families, not just in our catering, retail and leisure facilities, but through every aspect of our business. This includes our positive recruitment of ex-forces personnel, supporting the mobile careers of military family members and our strong policies to support reservists; we are committed to supporting every one of our employees who is a reservist or who is interested in becoming a reservist and helping to make a part-time military career run as smoothly as possible alongside a career with Sodexo. We are proud that our support to reservists has been recognised with a Defence Employer Silver Award.

We are working closely with the MOD’s official provider of resettlement support, the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) to recruit regular service personnel at the end of their engagements and are developing specific pathways within our recruitment process to further engage ex-forces personnel and reservists.

Those applying for roles with us who meet the essential criteria advertised under the ‘ideal candidate’ on the vacancy advertised are guaranteed to progress within the selection process. We are also increasing the awareness of military anniversaries and potential issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) amongst our managers and encouraging support to military charities and events such as SSAFA’s Big Brew Up and Armed Forces Day throughout Sodexo.

Our commitment to the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant

The Government’s Armed Forces Corporate Covenant sets out the relationship between businesses and charitable organisations and the British Armed Forces community and Sodexo Defence was one of the first companies to sign up to it in October 2013, followed by Sodexo UK & Ireland in early 2015. Both Corporate Covenant pledges are published on this website and also on the Government website at and give the details of Sodexo’s commitment to support the Armed Forces community.

Sven's Northwood, Sodexo Manager and Army Reservist

There are currently around 35,000 Volunteer Reservists in the UK from all backgrounds, regions and jobs; they are ordinary men and women who give up their time to train and serve alongside the Regular Armed Forces. Sodexo is committed to supporting every one of our employees who also serve in the Reserve Forces; an initiative that is being led by the team from Sodexo Defence.

Sven Northwood was a soldier and chef with the Royal Logistics Corps (RLC) for over 23 years and has been with Sodexo since April 2013, as a chef and now a Catering Manager at Munster Barracks, where he oversees seven messes.

Sven is also a part time Reservist with 102 Battalion, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) Reservists, alongside Robert Newing and Edwin Adams, who also work for Sodexo. 102 Battalion, REME known as the ‘Northern Craftsmen', are the Army Reserve's professional engineers in the North of England and Scotland, providing reserve soldiers and officers to train for, and deploy on, military operations.

Sven Northwood suit Sven Northwood uniform

How does Sodexo support you as a Reservist?

"I feel greatly supported as a Reservist; the communication and understanding between the battalion and Sodexo is fantastic, which really helps. Sandra Holder, Services Manager at Munster Barracks is kept informed of any activities that I will be undertaking well in advance and then I am released to go on and do reservist duties.

Everyone in the team is really supportive and a lot of the activities that I undertake complement my life with Sodexo; recently I went to the resettlement office and was interviewed on my experience of leaving the Army, working for Sodexo and on being a Reservist as there can be some negativity around this and I was keen to give a really positive picture."

What sorts of activities as a Reservist have you recently undertaken?

"As part of 102 Battalion, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) Reservists I was asked to attend the ABF, The Soldiers’ Charity Big Curry Cook Off with two other Sodexo employees and fellow Reservists, Edwin Adams and Kelvin Whear. We did really well in the competition, which also raised a lot of interest in Sodexo and Reservists; it was close, but we won!

Last year we had over 450 cadets from the North East, who attended an event where we were able to educate them on healthy eating, nutrition and the importance of a balanced diet. This was great, as not only did we get congratulated by the commandant but we had a real sense of achievement in being able to give something back to the community and helping others."

What advice would you give to others who are thinking of joining the Reservists?

"If both jobs complement each other, then you can add lots of value, especially if you work for such a flexible, understanding company like Sodexo. With the Reserves there are lots of positives and scope to keep you motivated and flexibility.

You need to be open and honest with your employer and give as much notice as possible of upcoming commitments, and then it will really work well for both parties. There are also lots of opportunities to show how Reservists can have a positive impact on an organisation and how experience and ideas can come to be shared, which is really important."

Armed Forces Corporate Covenant Pledge

Tri-Service photo

Sodexo is committed to supporting the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant. The Covenant sets out the relationship between the nation, the government and the armed forces.

Sodexo Defence and Sodexo UK and Ireland have made pledges to support the Armed Forces community.

Corporate Covenant Silver Award

Sodexo Defence have been awarded the Employers' Gold Award for our commitment and support to our employees who serve as military reservists and our positive approach to recruiting ex-service and reserve personnel.