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I joined Marks and Spencer colleagues with inspiring back stories from across the UK, representatives from The Prince’s Trust and even Percy Pig for a reception 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 who 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.

It was inspiring listening to the young people who had settled into their careers with Marks and Spencer’s and it was also a real treat to meet Percy Pig!


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