Marks & Spencer

Building a more diverse and inclusive retail sector workforce.


We have been committed to providing opportunities for young unemployed people for over 15 years. Alongside our partners The Prince’s Trust, Remploy and Business in the Community, we have supported over 20,000 through ‘Marks and Start’.   Supporting young people to break the ‘no experience no job cycle’ is the right thing to do, for them, for society, but also for our business.  Through it we unlock a motivated and loyal workforce that is representative of the communities in which we operate.  It leads to increased moral amongst our exiting employees, who act as mentors, building leadership skills and it allows us to develop a pipeline of talent for the organisation

Sacha Berendji,  Retail, operations & property director, Marks and Spencer

Sector Retail
UK Workforce 80,000
Placement Model 4-week programme delivered with The Prince’s Trust
Funding Source Employer-funded


M&S’s Movement to Work programme, Mark’s and Start, is a training and mentoring scheme that gives unemployed young people the skills, experience and confidence they need to find a job.

If you’re aged between 18 – 25 and not in employment, education or training, Mark’s and Start could be exactly the programme you’ve been looking for. Designed in partnership with The Prince’s Trust, it provides young people with hands-on experience of an M&S job, training in employability skills and the support of a coach and buddy. It may even lead to a permanent position.


Marks & Spencer Case Studies

Sean McNeill, 25, Glasgow

Just six years ago, Sean McNeill, 25, from Glasgow, faced the tough reality of sleeping rough on the city’s streets. Despite having previously worked as a computer engineer and having a steady income, his life took a turn for the worse when the financial crisis sent the company he worked for into liquidation.

Today, however, Sean’s life couldn’t look more different. He’s now a section co-ordinator at Marks & Spencer (M&S) in Glasgow and is well and truly back on track. He credits this to being introduced to the M&S Marks and Start programme, which supports individuals facing barriers in gaining employment.

Marks and Start is run by M&S in partnership with The Prince’s Trust and helps unemployed young people develop the skills and confidence needed to find work, through a four week training and work placement programme. It is part of M&S’s commitment to tackling youth unemployment – an issue it has led the way on and remains committed to.

When Sean became legally homeless, he sought help from the Council for Homeless Young People (CHYP), a housing unit for vulnerable young people. It was then he was introduced to The Prince’s Trust, which helps young people aged 13 to 30 get into jobs, education and training, and they made him aware of the Marks and Start scheme.

It was shortly after this that Sean undertook a two-week placement at M&S and a few weeks later, Sean was lucky enough to be offered a permanent position at the store.

When asked about his experience, Sean said: “The support I have received from M&S has been phenomenal. If it wasn’t for the Marks and Start programme and The Prince’s Trust introducing me to it, I can’t even begin to imagine the direction my life might have taken. Before joining, my life had come to a standstill and I genuinely couldn’t see a way out of being homeless.”

Click here to visit Marks & Spencer’s website.