Marks & Spencer will double the number of people taking part in its employability skills programme Marks & Start to 10,000 over the next five years.
The Marks & Start scheme, now in its 10th year, is designed to help individuals with disabilities and health conditions, the young unemployed, lone parents and those tackling homelessness to gain vocational skills.
The news will be detailed in full at a reception in London hosted by M&S chief executive Marc Bolland and minister of state for employment Esther McVey this afternoon (March 25).
Bolland said: “Through Marks & Start, we want to give individuals the opportunity that can be the turning point they need to change their lives for the better. Over the last decade, we have seen how the scheme also motivates and engages our existing employees, creates new development opportunities and builds a real sense of pride within our teams. Engagement is at the heart of our business and that’s why we want to continue to lead the charge in tackling unemployment.”
Over the last decade, the Marks & Start scheme has helped over 10,000 individuals by working in partnership with charities The Princes Trust, Gingerbread, which helps single parents, and Business in the Community, which works with the homeless or those at risk of homelessness.
Around two-thirds (60%) of participants that complete the programme gain employment with M&S or another firm within 13 weeks and over 90% report that Marks & Start has improved their confidence and helped them to find work.