Marks and Spencer is supporting the government’s Kickstart programme by creating 360 youth work placement roles, to help young people “gain invaluable experience” and step onto the work ladder.
The scheme, in partnership with The Prince’s Trust, will deliver two Kickstart cohorts with 180 placements each in April and June 2021.
According to M&S, the Kickstart colleagues will first join as trainee customer assistants for six-month placements rotating across food halls, backstage operations, hospitality and clothing and home departments.
The training will involve “core life and work skills” such as “resilience and wellbeing, communication skills and building confidence in the workplace” – and M&S will also prepare colleagues to join its retail apprenticeship programme.
The roles will be available across the UK – including M&S’s 30 regional academy stores.
The Kickstart scheme was created by the UK government to provide funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment. All employees who participate in the scheme are paid at least the national minimum wage.
Following the placements, M&S said it “aims to support Kickstart colleagues to apply for permanent opportunities where available across its stores”.
Sacha Berendji, retail and property director at M&S, said: “Through our partnership with The Princes Trust, we’re proud to have supported thousands of people who face barriers to jumpstart their careers.
“But now more than ever, as a result of the pandemic, we know the challenges to find work are even greater for young people.”
He added: “That’s why, we’re proud to play our part by backing the government’s Kickstart scheme and helping to build essential employability and skills to improve their chances of finding long-term careers.”