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Today (February 22) Marks & Spencer has launched the newest phase of its successful Make Your Mark employability programme by introducing it to its London Head Office.  

Make Your Mark is run by M&S in partnership with The Prince’s Trust and helps unemployed young people develop the skills and confidence needed to find work through a four week training and work placement programme. It is part of M&S’s commitment to play its part in tackling youth unemployment – an issue it has led the way on and remains committed to.  

The latest programme intake will see 19 young people take part in the training and work placement programme at M&S’s Paddington offices across departments including Food, Kidswear, Property and M&S.com. Each area of the business will offer participants a unique opportunity to get involved in exciting projects with one of the UK’s largest retailers. M&S hopes to offer employment or apprenticeship opportunities to several candidates.  

This innovative new office programme will help young people get into office roles – an area which can be intimidating to many young people who lack formal qualifications. In addition to work experience alongside a work place buddy, the four weeks includes skills workshops and employability sessions. Participants will develop both their technical office skills such as meeting etiquette and Microsoft Office and will also work on general workplace skills including teamwork, networking and confidence building. 

M&S’s Make Your Mark programme launched in 2013 and over 4000 young people have now taken part. The programme is part of Movement to Work – a group of over 200 employers who have together taken 35,000 young people through development programmes and made a real difference in tackling youth unemployment. 

Tanith Dodge, Director of HR at M&S said, “Over the past three years I’ve seen hundreds of young people take part in the Make Your Mark programme across our stores. These young men and women have demonstrated a real desire to learn, grow and develop and I’m proud that many of them have joined the M&S team and are doing a brilliant job serving our customers. 

I’m looking forward to inviting a new cohort of young people into our offices. Not only can we provide them with an excellent development opportunity but I’m hoping they’ll inspire the M&S colleagues they work alongside with fresh ideas and new ways of thinking.” 

Martina Milburn, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Trust, said, “There are still hundreds of thousands of young people out there who are struggling to find a job. Youth unemployment can contribute to low self-esteem, feelings of hopelessness and even depression. Make Your Mark has been successfully helping those young people furthest from the jobs market. We are looking forward to continuing to work with Marks & Spencer as they find new ways to tackle the issue across their business.” 

Notes to editors

* The programme is targeted at anyone aged 16-25 who is not in any education or training at all or for less than 12 hours a week, and not in employment at all or in employment for less than 16 hours a week. 

About Make Your Mark 

  • Make Your Mark has three intakes throughout the year at stores across the UK.
  • In addition to the new office programme M&S is also trialing an intake at its distribution centre Castle Donington.
  • Anyone interested in opportunities with Make Your Mark or Marks & Start can visit http://corporate.marksandspencer.com/mscareers for specific information about either programme. 
  • M&S’s “Make Your Mark” programme launched in 2013 in partnership with youth charity The Prince’s Trust and has delivered over 4000 placements. 

About Marks and Start 

  • Since 2004, over 15,000 participants have taken part in Marks & Start.
  • There are four programme partners: 1) Prince’s Trust (young people between the ages of 16-25), 2) Remploy (people with disabilities and health conditions), 3) BITC (homeless or those at risk of homelessness) and 4) Gingerbread (lone parents).
  • Marks & Start creates a more diverse and inclusive workplace – around 25% of Marks & Start participants have some sort of disability; 30% of participants are aged between 18-25 and 10% are from ethnic minority backgrounds

Youth unemployment in numbers

622,000 young people aged 16-24 were unemployed in October-December 2015 http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN05871 

About The Prince’s Trust

Youth charity The Prince’s Trust helps disadvantaged young people to get their lives on track. Founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 1976, this year it is celebrating 40 years of supporting 13 to 30 year-olds who are unemployed and those struggling at school and at risk of exclusion. 

Many of the young people helped by The Prince’s Trust are in or leaving care, facing issues such as homelessness or mental health problems, or they have been in trouble with the law. The Trust’s programmes give vulnerable young people the practical and financial support needed to stabilise their lives, helping develop self-esteem and skills for work. Three in four young people supported by The Prince’s Trust move into work, education or training. 

The Prince’s Trust has supported 825,000 young people in the last 40 years and this year it will support over 100 more each day. 

Further information about The Prince’s Trust is available at princes-trust.org.uk or on 0800 842 842