Press releases

Back to press releases index

27 September 2012


New scheme for people with disabilities to support an inclusive workforce

Marks & Spencer (M&S) today announces 1,000 new roles at its new 900,000 sq ft distribution centre in Castle Donington, due to open in early 2013. Set to be the UK's largest dedicated e-commerce warehouse, it will distribute two million clothing and home products a week direct to customer homes and M&S stores across the country.

A new Plan A employability scheme for people with disabilities and health conditions - Marks & Start Logistics - will be one of the recruitment channels used to recruit for these new roles – which include warehouse operatives, engineers, mechanics administrative staff, transport controllers and management.

Inspired by the successful Marks & Start scheme that operates in M&S stores and offices, Marks & Start Logistics will help recruit, train and employ people with disabilities and health conditions to work at Castle Donington. It will be run in partnership with Remploy Employment Service, which specialises in giving disabled people the support they need to overcome barriers to work.

Darrell Stein, Director of IT and Logistics at Marks & Spencer, said: "Castle Donington is a key part of M&S' strategy for the future. This new distribution centre will help us deliver our goal of being a leading multi-channel retailer by 2015. It will also allow us to better serve our customers with improved product availability and extended delivery options. We're delighted to be creating 1000 new roles as part of this plan and we hope it will provide an economic boost for the East Midlands.”

Tanith Dodge, HR Director at Marks & Spencer, said: “We want to support as many people with disabilities into the workplace as possible by taking our Marks & Start scheme to a new scale and a new part of the business. Around 10 million disabled people live in the UK and only 49 per cent are in employment compared to 78 per cent of non-disabled people. It doesn't have to be this way. Our experience tells us that people who face barriers to the work place are committed, motivated and valued employees.”

Esther McVey, Minister for the Disabled, said: "Although the employment rate of disabled people has improved over the past few years, around half of all disabled people are still not in work and those that are often work far below their potential.

“That is why I'd urge other employers to follow the example of M&S and look hard at their recruitment and work practices to make sure they don't miss out on the extensive talents of disabled people."

Beth Carruthers, Director of Employment Services at Remploy, said: "I applaud M&S for this commitment - this wonderful new distribution centre will provide jobs for a large number of disabled people in the East Midlands, allowing them to maximise their talent. The Paralympics was a wonderful example of the achievements of disabled people. Every day at Remploy we see disabled people demonstrate their talents in the workplace and Marks & Start Logistics will give many more an opportunity to shine through sustainable employment.”

Marks & Start Logistics - how does it work?

Remploy Employment Services will work with local referral partners and provide employability skills training for participants. Those participants who successfully complete this part of the programme will then take part in on-site M&S technical and skills based training using simulated equipment.

Following the training, participants will complete a two week work placement where they will be working in a team in a live environment. At the end of their placement the team leader and participant will review whether the participant is ready for employment at M&S Castle Donington or whether further training and support is required. Remploy who will continue to work with participants who require further support prior to employment or with participants who decide that this opportunity is not right for them.

Over the next 12 months, Marks & Start Logistics will be just one of the channels used to recruit for these roles. Anyone interested in opportunities at the new Castle Donington distribution centre should visit for more information about vacancies and for specific information about the Marks & Start Logistics programme.

Castle Donington facts

  • The site is 900,000 sq ft and over 25 metres high. Equivalent of 11 Wembley size football pitches, it could hold 12 jumbo jets, 3,507 double decker buses or 2,392 billion Percy Pigs.
  • The is site is fully mechanised and features some of the latest technology in the warehousing industry including automated storage and retrieval systems and sophisticated warehouse management systems guaranteeing delivery accuracy.
  • Castle Donington offers excellent transport links, with direct access to the A50 and a rail terminal.
  • The site was built with M&S' Plan A in mind and features Europe's largest solar wall - a sun-facing wall that absorbs solar energy and releases it to help power light and heating. It is carbon neutral and has been part built using concrete from a former power station. None of the waste from the site has gone to landfill.


- Ends -

Notes to editors

  • Plan A is Marks & Spencer's environmental and ethical programme which aims to make M&S the world's most sustainable major retailer by 2015. Launched in 2007 and extended in March 2010, it takes an holistic approach to sustainability focusing on involving customers, engaging all areas of the business and tackling issues such as climate change, waste, raw materials, health and being a fair partner. To find out more about Plan A visit
  • In the past four years Remploy Employment Services has found more than 45,000 jobs in mainstream employment for people with a range of physical, sensory and mental disabilities and other disadvantages. It operates a national network of 66 town and city centre recruitment branches and offices providing specialist recruitment and development services to job seekers It partners with more than 2,500 of the country's biggest employers including Marks & Spencer

For information on vacancies please visit the M&S Careers Website - click here

For Remploy

If you would like to find out more about this programme, please visit the Remploy website by clicking here, call their contact centre on 0845 600 2517.


Back to press releases index

Back to top