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Flying high

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Leonardo Helicopters, key facts If you’re looking for a contract that truly showcases the depth of Sodexo’s service offer then Leonardo Helicopters in Yeovil Somerset is a fantastic place to start.  Since winning the £27m five year contract in 2012, the number of services Sodexo provides has more than doubled, and so have employee numbers – from 68 to today’s 120-strong team.

The 220-acre site has a rich history and recently celebrated its centenary. The Leonardo team builds commercial and military helicopters and with an airfield, industrial hangers and offices to look after, it’s one of the most diverse contracts in our business.

Soft services include: cleaning; waste management; porterage; grounds maintenance and management of specialist services including pest control and hazardous cleaning.

Hard services include: all mechanical and electrical building maintenance; AC, building and fabric works, statutory inspections and specialist technical services such as heavy lifting, water treatment and scaffolding.

Jan Janssen

Andy Blackmore

Nick, Peter and Graham

Meet Lee

Meet Barbara


Jan Janssen

Account manager Jan has travelled on a long journey with Sodexo since joining the company in 2000. He’s been responsible for everything from small PFI contracts in Healthcare, to multi-activity contracts in Defence. Jan also took on a project management role at the London 2012 Olympics. “When I joined, the company was looking to diversify into IFM which was seen as the future of our business, so since then I’ve been trying to take on different roles and develop my capabilities, going from single to multi-activity contracts,” he says. Jan always has an eye on growth, and we are currently in the process of negotiating a potential 5 year contract extension with Leonardo Helicopters.  “We have the potential to grow into one of the biggest single contracts within Corporate Services.”

Andrew Blackmore

Andrew is an industrial cleaner, working inside a huge hanger housing the final assembly line for the helicopters. During his 6am to 2.30pm shift Andrew keeps the facilities in top condition for the manufacturing teams. He starts his day by cleaning the toilets, then tackles 30 bins, making sure all recyclable metal, paper and cardboard is separated. From there, he turns his attention to sweeping and polishing the vast floor area, and every week gives the staging around each helicopter a full brush down. “It’s such an interesting place to work as you get to watch the construction as it progresses every day,” explains Andrew. “Each helicopter takes eight to nine months to build, so there’s always something different happening.”

Nick Mead, Peter White and Graham Lake

Nick, Peter and Graham are the trio responsible for the site’s grounds maintenance, looking after over 200 acres. “That includes a 102 acre airfield, so that’s a big part of the job to keep the grass aerated and cut,” says Nick. “We also have other lawns to keep tidy as well as hedge cutting.” The team also looks after the nearby Thorne House estate – a guesthouse for delegates and clients of Leonardo. “The house has some lovely walled gardens, so we grow flowers and fresh vegetables there.” The whole team enjoys the variety of the work and plans a strict seasonal yearly works calendar to ensure the grounds look top quality all year-round.

Lee Parrott

Lee’s job as civil supervisor sees him planning a maintenance schedule around the Yeovil site, looking after a team of six carrying out repairs. As a former property developer he knows all about making a building look its best. “Our team fixes anything that’s not electrical or plumbing, both planned and reactive jobs,” he says. It’s a busy role but somehow Lee still finds time to indulge his sporting passion – he’s a successful veteran athlete. “I take part in pentathlon and decathlon events and have recently been involved in the British Masters Athletics Federation Decathlon Championships in Birmingham, competing against world record holder Darren Scott.” Lee finished third in the rankings.  

Barbara Rawlings

If there’s anyone that knows the site like the back of her hand then it’s Barbara, having been working at Yeovil for 20 years. Now aged 53, she started with a small role cleaning toilets for two hours a day when her children were small. As the family grew up, Barbara took on more responsibility and by 2000 she was in a full-time charge hand role. “I’ve been through three changes of ownership and when Sodexo took over my role was expanded to include industrial cleaning alongside my usual office cleaning,” says Barbara. “They’re a nice bunch here.”

Barbara has expanded her skills and trained as a forklift driver, and after finishing her 6am to 3pm shift she then goes off to work at a local Screwfix store in the evening. At the weekends you’ll also find her on the terraces supporting her beloved Southampton FC.


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