Marks & Spencer gives disadvantaged people an opportunity for employment training

Marks & Start is Marks & Spencer’s work experience programme for those who are homeless, disabled, single parents and young unemployed.

Every year 650 people complete the programme which involves a two or four week placement in a store or office. In addition to training, participants have the day-to-day support of a coach and a buddy. Travel expenses, free meals and a reference are also a part of the programme. In 2010 the company began running employability workshops for prisoners in Send women’s prison to give participants the confidence and skills to re-join the labour market.

Participants in Marks & Start are identified by the charity partners who specialise in social work with the key groups. The partners are the Prince’s Trust (young unemployed); DisabledGo (people with disabilities); Business Action on Homelessness (the homeless); and One Parent Families and Parentline Plus through their wholly-owned joint venture Family Business (parents returning to work).

Further information


Partnership types

Advocacy of global issues; Doing business with the poor; Provision of services / all (3)

Regions / countries / territories

Europe: United Kingdom

Global issues

Children, youth and family welfare; Disability issues; Education and training; all (4)

Business sectors

Manufacturing; Retail trade