Unilever launches online course to tackle mental health issues in kitchens

Launched to coincide with Mental Health Week from May 9-15, the course includes 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 in several areas of mental health, including self-care, work environment, teamwork and team management. They also provide guidance on how to spot signs that a team member may be struggling, as well as tips for facilitating mental health conversations.

Available to view now on the Unilever Food Solutions website,This latest UFS Academy course comes in response to the growing mental health issues that continue to challenge the industry. In a 2020 survey of hospitality workers by the charity Hospitality Action, more than a third of respondents (37%) described their job as stressful “most of the time” and 68% said that stress levels had increased in their organization over the past three years.

“Staff mental health is critical to the long-term success of the industry – a healthy work environment is synonymous with a healthy business. The challenges of working in hospitality are well documented, with high levels of stress among staff before the pandemic, but with an increased recruitment and retention challenge, we risk seeing them increase even more as the sector rebounds says Alex Hall, Executive Chef. at Unilever UK&I.

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

Unilever Away From Home launched the UFS Academy in March 2022 to address broader training and growth issues in the industry. The platform acts as a chef training portal and offers free online culinary lessons by some of the best chefs in the world.

Earlier this week it was revealed that hotel workers work about six hours a week morethan before the pandemic as the sector tries to navigate the current recruitment crisis. Staff are now working an average of 25 hours a week, compared to 19 hours before the pandemic.

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