M&S creates 360 work placements in government backed scheme

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer is supporting the government’s Kickstart programme by creating 360 work placements to provide skills and training in retail for 16-24 year-olds, in a scheme designed to get them on the career ladder.

It forms part of M&S’s wider commitment to employability such as Marks & Start, which has helped over 20,000 young people facing barriers into work.

In partnership with The Prince’s Trust – M&S’s long-standing employability and Sparks charity partner – the retailer will deliver two Kickstart cohorts with placements of 180 each, firstly in April, and then in June.

The Kickstart colleagues will join as trainee customer assistants for six-month placements rotating across M&S foodhalls, backstage operations, hospitality and clothing and home departments at M&S stores. The roles will be available across a breadth of geographical regions across the UK, including M&S’s 30 regional academy stores, which are its ‘centres of excellence.’

M&S will also prepare participants to join its retail apprenticeship programme, and there will be a key focus on digital skills and learning with access to a range of digital devices to work with to support their training.

Sacha Berendji, Retail and Property Director at M&S, said: “Through our partnership with The Prince’s Trust, we’re proud to have supported thousands of people who face barriers to jumpstart their careers. But now more than ever, as a result of the pandemic, we know the challenges to find work are even greater for young people. That’s why we’re proud to play our part by backing the government’s Kickstart scheme and helping to build essential employability and skills to improve their chances of finding long-term careers.”

Following the placements, M&S aims to support Kickstart colleagues to apply for permanent opportunities where available across its stores. All Kickstart colleagues will be paid in line with current in-store pay levels.

Applications for the April cohort have opened at Jobcentre Plus locations across the UK.