AkzoNobel joins forces with SOFEA

AkzoNobel’s Vehicle Refinishes business in the UK has agreed a new corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative with the South Oxfordshire Food & Education Alliance (SOFEA).

Twelve of AkzoNobel’s senior management from across Northern Europe spent time working at the SOFEA warehouse in Didcot, close to the Vehicle Refinishes’ UK office and Automotive Training Centre (ATC).

SOFEA is dedicated to improving the prospects of long-term unemployed, disabled and marginalised young people by offering free accredited training. The team does this while also cutting down on food waste, by taking unsold food from local supermarkets and distributing it among local charities. SOFEA’s mission complements the aims of AkzoNobel and its Planet Possible initiative which promotes ‘doing more with less’ both in business and the wider community.

Jon Amor, Vehicle Refinishes premium sales manager, UK & Ireland, explained, ‘During our visit we learnt more about SOFEA as we worked alongside students who guided us through the process of sorting and ‘traying up’ donated food. We talked about some of our life experiences to help inspire them and build their confidence and social skills. It was a fantastic learning experience for both our European team and the SOFEA students.’

Richard Kennell, CEO of SOFEA agreed, ‘It was such a joy to see our students interacting with the AkzoNobel team, taking pride in their work and enjoying very valuable conversations with role models who can really influence how they think about their future.’

AkzoNobel is now developing an ongoing programme of activities which will include inviting the students to the new ATC, where they will experience first-hand how bodyshops work, the role of AkzoNobel’s performance paint technology and learn a little about colour matching and spraying techniques.

Jon concluded, ‘We hope our work with SOFEA will inspire young people to consider the benefits of working in vehicle refinishes and what it can offer them in terms of a fulfilling career.’