Marks and Spencer

Marks & Spencer is to create 1,400 work experience places for young people

Marks & Spencer has launched a new work experience scheme to help get more young people into work.

Working with The Prince’s Trust, the retailer will create over 1,400 placements for 16-25-year-olds over the coming year.

The unpaid placements will last for four weeks and will include training and job support. Each participant will have a dedicated ‘buddy’ and career coach.

M&S said the new scheme – which will increase by eight-fold the number of unemployed young people doing work experience at the retailer – would address the skills and experience gap preventing young people from finding work.

“Youth unemployment has become one of today’s key social issues and we want to lead the charge for businesses to do more to tackle it head on,” said M&S CEO Marc Bolland.

“That’s why we’ve set aside 1,400 new placements for young people in our stores and have called on our suppliers and other businesses to start engaging their communities and make their own commitments to youth opportunity.”

The scheme – called Make Your Mark – is inspired by M&S’s Marks & Start scheme for people who face barriers to employment.

“The programme builds on our experiences of our employability scheme, Marks & Start, launched in 2004, which supports people to overcome significant barriers to employment.  We believe that by not investing in our future workforce now, we will only be facing a talent deficit tomorrow,” said M&S’s HR director Tanith Dodge.