Rt Hon Nigel Evans MP joined M&S colleagues with inspiring back stories from across the UK, representatives from The Prince’s Trust, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Therese Coffey and even Percy Pig for a reception in the House of Parliament in Westminster to celebrate 10,000 young people completing the Marks & Start programme since 2013.
The event highlighted how M&S’ partnership with The Prince’s Trust helps support skills development and creates new job opportunities across the UK.
Marks & Start is a work placement programme that helps people from disadvantaged communities who face barriers entering the workforce. The M&S programmes don’t just give people an insight into a career in retail, but also create a clear, accessible route into work.
M&S is The Prince’s Trusts largest private sector employability partner, supporting The Prince’s Trust for 18 years. The current format of the programme has run since 2013 where young people (16-30 year olds) undertake a four-week placement to gain practical retail experience and skills working alongside a buddy. During the programme they also complete employability training as well as M&S learning to equip them with the skills and behaviours to enhance future employment prospects. Those that successfully complete the placement are offered a 16-hour fixed-term contract. 81% of the young people who complete the programme go on to continue working for M&S.
Nigel Evans said:
“Ensuring there is a consistent and reliable stream of high-quality jobs for young people is essential to support not only businesses and young people but the wider community. So, it is brilliant to see M&S partnering with the Prince’s Trust to help young people into work.
“For many, the transition from education to the world of work can be incredibly difficult, making the efforts of organisations such as the Prince’s Trust vitally important. It is fantastic that they have been able to help over 10,000 young people into employment with the Marks and Start programme and I hope they will be able to continue to build on this success.”
Jonathan Townsend, CEO at The Prince’s Trust, added:
“It is a very proud moment to celebrate the 10,000 young people who have been supported over the past 18 years through the partnership between The Prince’s Trust and Marks and Spencer.
“Across the UK, there are too many young people lacking the confidence and skills they need, and who are not in employment, training or education. Therefore, it remains crucial that we work with partners such as Marks and Spencer that, through the Marks and Start programme and more recently through the Kickstart scheme, can help disengaged young people develop the skills and experience they need to enter the world of work.
“We are grateful to Marks and Spencer for its ongoing commitment to our partnership and look forward to continuing to work closely together in the future.”
Sacha Berendji, Group Property, Store Development and Technology Director commented:
“We are delighted to have been able to celebrate the incredible Marks & Start milestone with our inspiring colleagues at Parliament.
“Our partnership with The Prince’s Trust has enabled us to level the playing field for all candidates and give young people the experience and skills to improve their employment prospects.
“We see first-hand the benefits and skillsets that employing young people from different backgrounds can bring to a business day in, day out which is why we will continue to develop our programme to help champion all our applicants.”
To learn more about M&S’s Marks & Start programme, please visit: https://jobs.marksandspencer.com/marks-start.
More information about The Prince’s Trust is available at princes-trust.org.uk or on 0800 842 842.