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Marks & Start

Latest News: A Royal Visit
M&S Marble Arch was delighted to have a visit from HRH the Prince of Wales on 13 May. He and Marc Bolland toured the store and met some of the young people taking part in Make Your Mark, part of the wider Movement to Work initiative, a UK-wide collaboration of around 200 employers that’s helping young unemployed people into the job market.  

The Make your Mark scheme gives young people the skills and confidence to find work in the retail sector, giving them employability skills training and on-the-job experience. We support around 1500 young people a year on the programme – like Rebecca Blythe, 23, from Sutton, who told HRH about the provenance of products on her deli counter, as well as about the skills and confidence she has learnt so far on the course.
Prince of wales

Marks & Start
Marks & Start is a work placement programme which helps people who face barriers getting into work. The key groups the programme supports are:

  • Single parents
  • People with disabilities or health conditions
  • People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
  • Young people
Anyone who's accepted onto the programme receives the coaching and support they need to take part in a two or four week placement in an M&S store. They have the help of a 'buddy' as they learn more about the role and get a real insight into the job, then plenty of follow-up support. At the end of each placement, there's the possibility of a role with M&S.

We deliver this groundbreaking programme with our specialist programme partners: Gingerbread, Business in the Community, Remploy and The Prince’s Trust.

We're delighted that 2015 marks 10 years of the Marks & Start programme –  that's a decade of changing lives. We recently held a special event to celebrate the milestone, showcase the programme and discuss how we can share learnings with any employers who are interested in setting up something similar.

Marks & Start is helping more people than ever before. 

For more information about the programme or to refer someone onto the programme, please visit our partners’ websites:

MARKS & START Logistics
Marks & Start Logistics supports people with disabilities and health conditions into work at our distribution centre in Castle Donington, East Midlands. Running along similar lines to the regular Marks & Start programme, Marks & Start Logistics, in partnership with Remploy, provides individual support, training and work experience to help you begin a bright and exciting career in logistics. 

MARKS & START International
Marks & Start International is operational in our stores in France and Greece, and in our suppliers’ factories in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In-store programmes support individuals who are long-term unemployed, while those in our supplier’s factories are tailored to support groups who are particularly vulnerable in that country.

Make Your Mark
If you’re aged between 18 - 25 and not in employment, education or training, Make Your Mark could be exactly the programme you’ve been looking for. Designed in partnership with The Prince’s Trust to develop the skills and confidence young people need to find work, Make Your Mark provides you with hands-on experience of an M&S job, training in employability skills and the support of a coach and buddy. It may even lead on to a permanent position.

Make Your Mark is M&S’s commitment to a wider campaign called Movement to Work – a collaboration of employers committed to tackling youth unemployment by providing high quality vocational training and work experience, find out more here

To learn more about the programme and how you can take part, you can also visit the Prince’s Trust website here or call their contact centre on 0800 842842.

To find out more about any of the above programmes, please visit our Careers site

Helping Mary back to work

In 2009, Mary McDonald, from Glasgow, was made redundant after 23 years in her marketing job. She also ended a violent relationship. After two years of unemployment, her self-esteem and confidence were at an all-time low and caring for her three children was a struggle.

At a local group that helps to get people back into work, Mary noticed a poster for Marks & Start. The programme aims to give job-seekers who face barriers to employment a confidence boost and reconnect or provide them with workforce skills before giving them hands-on work experience.

Following an initial two-week work experience placement, Mary was invited back for a further three weeks and was then made a permanent member of staff. She says, “I now work in the womenswear department and manage all of the stock. I absolutely love it. The people I work with are also a great bunch to be with every day and I really feel like I have a great support network around me. I finally feel like me again.

“I really do thank M&S for helping me turn my life around. I would absolutely encourage those who are looking for a helping hand to get back into the world of work to find out more about Marks & Start. It’s helped me, and I’ve not doubt that it can help others too.”