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Marks & Start 

Marks & Start is our employability scheme that supports people looking for work who are at a disadvantage. Our programmes give people an insight into a career in retail and a clear, accessible route into work.  

Marks and Start first started in 2004, when we set a clear goal to help disadvantaged people into work. Since then, the programme has supported over 28,000 people through training and work experience in our stores and offices. 

The current format of the programme has run since 2014 and has supported hundreds of people each year. Over the 4-week programme period, we place on average 50% of the individuals who joined us on the scheme. We’re incredibly lucky to work with some fantastic programme partners and have met some inspiring and resilient people along the way – many of which remain valued members of M&S today. 

Our UK programmes take place in M&S stores all over the country, and we run a logistics programme at our Distribution Centre in Castle Donington. We also run Marks & Start internationally, supporting people from disadvantaged backgrounds in India.  

We continually work to shape our programme as we move into the future, with an aim to lead the way in giving young people strong experience and skills to help improve their employment prospects.  

The Princes Trust – Youth Can Do It 
‘Youth Can Do It’ is a four-week youth employability programme for young people aged 16-25. The original ‘Make Your Mark’ programme started in 2013 and has supported over 6,000 young people.  

Business in the Community 
With Business in the Community, we run a two-week employability programme for the homeless or those at risk of homelessness – helping participants gain skills and experience for work through tailored learning.  



At M&S, we’re proud to be supporting the Government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Kickstart programme. We offer 16-24 year olds on Universal Crediplacements as a Trainee Customer Assistant in our stores across the country, providing skills and confidence for young people to kick start long-term careers. 

Since starting the programme in April 2021, nearly 350 young people have joined 90 of our stores with 82% of them staying on to work for M&S. The young people have provided very positive feedback on how the programme has developed their confidence and skills. We’ve also been able to support other businesses by sharing our programme and learnings and have participated in events with Movement to Work and The Prince’s Trust.