Unilever launches online course to tackle mental health issues in kitchens

By BigHospitality

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever launches online course to tackle mental health issues in kitchens

Related tags: mental health, Chef, Unilever food solutions

Unilever Away From Home is adding a Mental Health in the Kitchen course to its recently launched Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) Academy in a bid to tackle rising concerns across the industry.

Launched to coincide with Mental Health Week from 9-15 May, the course comprises a series of training videos to give chefs and hospitality staff practical advice on everyday changes they can make to encourage a better working environment for all.

The films include advice and support across several areas within mental health including selfcare, working environment, teamwork, and team management. They also provide pointers on how to spot signs a team member may be struggling, as well as advice on facilitating conversations around mental health.

Available to view now on the Unilever Food Solutions website​,​ this latest course from the UFS Academy comes in response to the rising mental health concerns which continue to challenge the industry. In 2020, a survey of hospitality workers by charity Hospitality Action, over a third of respondents (37%) described their jobs as stressful ‘most of the time’ and 68% said stress levels had increased in their organisation in the past three years.

“The mental health of staff is critical to long term success across the industry – a healthy working environment makes for a healthy business. The challenges of working in hospitality are well documented, with stress levels amongst staff high pre-pandemic, but with increased recruitment and retention challenge, we are in danger of them rising even higher as the sector bounces back,” says Alex Hall, executive chef at Unilever UK&I.

“We must do more to support the mental health and wellbeing of all, which is why we have developed a specific course to give people the tools they need to help make positive changes to the kitchen culture.”

Unilever Away From Home introduced the UFS Academy in March 2022 to address wider training and growth issues across the industry. The platform acts as a chef training portal and features free online culinary courses by some of the world’s best chefs.

Earlier this week it was revealed that hospitality employees are working around six hours a week longer ​than before the pandemic as the sector tries to tackle the ongoing recruitment crisis. Staff now work an average of 25 hours a week, compared to 19 hours pre-pandemic.

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