We’re committed to working with our suppliers to help them develop the necessary skills and competencies to meet our requirements by offering an extensive range of training and development opportunities. We believe that worker training is a critical element in achieving an excellent workplace.
Our workers’ rights training programmes cover a range of topics including employees’ roles, responsibilities and rights, basic health care, fire safety, numeracy and literacy and our Global Sourcing Principles.
They are delivered by our Ethical Trading team or specialist third parties through a variety of formats including e-learning, presentations, workshops, practical assessments, webinars or case studies.
We actively encourage our supply base to take part in our training programmes and help our suppliers find the right course to meet the needs of the workers or the factory. We aim to provide a training and education programme for 800,000 workers by 2020.
We’ve launched a series of initiatives in partnership with third parties. These courses range from financial literacy, to employee rights, understanding contracts, pay and holiday entitlement, fire safety training to health awareness and life skills training.
For example, since 2012 we’ve implemented a Fire Safety programme in all factories in Bangladesh with Worldwide Responsible Accreditation Production (WRAP)
. The programme is unique to M&S due to its fire champion module which takes workers right through from how fires start, the context and risks within the workplace, to how to effectively evacuate the workplace, the importance of safe practices and how they play a part in reducing the risk of fire in the workplace and their homes. By December 2015 all of our garment factories had a worker fire champion in place and by the end of March 2016 130,000 workers had received this training.
In 2012, we piloted a Workplace Communications programme with garment suppliers in Turkey for 12 months. Based on the experience, we developed a global Workplace Communication module for all our suppliers which sets out how to develop or improve the provision of, and management interaction with, trade unions, worker committees, effective communication channels and trade union relationships. By the end of March 2016, over 40,000 workers in our garment supply chain in China, Sri Lanka and Turkey have received this training.
Through our Ethical Model Factory Programme (see above) we developed a comprehensive worker rights training programme with GIZ. This programme was developed in conjunction with local stakeholders and workers, and covers all elements of the ETI Base Code, in addition to other elements directly related to workers’ rights. The format of this training programme enables the basis for mature industrial relations by promoting active dialogue between management and workers. This training is an ongoing programme and as of the end of March 2016 169,699 hours of supplier training have reached 32,296 individuals.
In addition to our own programmes we invest in a number of advocacy and collaborative working initiatives (see below) which include training. For example, M&S suppliers in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka provide work experience and employment opportunities for more than 250 people with disabilities. Our work on youth unemployment has grown significantly in recent years as we have worked with our suppliers to share best practice and encourage similar programmes. This is part of a larger programme which we helped to found in 2013 called Movement to Work which, since launch, has created nearly 15,000 vocational training and work experience opportunities for young people.
We’ve also run worker programmes
to benefit people in key regions of the world where we source our products, including the UK, Asia and Africa. The key aim has been to develop resilience and efficiency by empowering people in our supply chain. For example, in partnership with Geosansar since 2012, 15,626 workers in India have received financial literacy training over 115 training sessions across 27 factories in Bangalore, Ludhiana, Tirupur, Coimbatore, Delhi and Chennai. In total, over 31,000 bank accounts have been opened by workers and others in the communities surrounding the factories and 70% of workers now have savings.
Between 2010 and 2020, we provided training to more than 1 million workers in our Clothing & Home supply chain.