Pudsey’s Marks & Spencer store helps young people onto the career ladder

owlcotes centre pudsey
Photo: Betty Longbottom. Used under Creative Commons licence

Pudsey’s Marks & Spencer store is taking applications for a newly launched work placement programme to enable young people to gain valuable experience to help them onto the career ladder.

Supporting the UK Government’s Kickstart programme, M&S has created 360 work placements for people aged 16-24 across the country following the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The programme will be run in partnership with The Prince’s Trust – M&S’s long-standing employability and Sparks charity partner. The first Kickstart cohort of 180 placements across 30 Regional Academy stores will include 18 placements at stores in York, Sheffield and its Pudsey Owlcotes store from April.

A second cohort – again running across the country – is set to run in June 2021. 

The Kickstart colleagues will join M&S stores at York Retail Park (Vangarde Monks Cross), Meadowhall and Pudsey as Trainee Customer Assistants for the six-month placements rotating across Foodhalls, backstage operations, hospitality and Clothing & Home departments.

As well as gaining retail experience, the programme will also develop their communication and digital skills and confidence in the workplace – equipping them with key tools to support their future career journey. 

Sacha Berendji, Retail & 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.

“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.” Commented

Frances Milner, Director of Fundraising at The Prince’s Trust, said: 

“We are pleased to be expanding this partnership, particularly at this time, when we know young people are disproportionately affected by rising unemployment and ongoing disruption to education and training opportunities.

“Together with Marks & Spencer, we can offer more young people the chance to build their skills and start work, so that they can feel positive about their futures despite any challenges they may be facing.”

Following the Kickstart placements, M&S aims to support colleagues to apply for permanent opportunities where available across its stores. All Kickstart colleagues will be paid in line with current in-store pay levels.

Applications for the April cohort are now open at Jobcentre Plus centres.


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