M&S tackles youth unemployment

A new employability scheme will see Marks & Spencer make its mark on some of the 950,000 unemployed young people in the UK.

One in five young people aged between 16 and 25 are looking for a job and M&S’ ‘Make Your Mark’ scheme in conjunction with the Prince’s Trust charity aims to get more than 1,400 youngsters into work experience placements.

According to a study, youth unemployment in the UK has reached record levels, but the new scheme has been designed to address the skills and experience gap preventing young people from finding work. It was inspired by the company’s successful employability scheme for people facing employment barriers, which allowed over 1,100 young people to work in its stores and offices across the country. Fifty per cent of those who completed the scheme gained employment with the company or another employer within three months.

M&S chief executive Marc Bolland said: “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.

“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, using the 2% benchmark as we have.”

Chief executive of The Prince’s Trust Martina Milburn said: “There are hundreds of thousands of young people out there who are currently struggling to find a job. Youth unemployment can contribute to low self-esteem, feelings of hopelessness and even depression. Make Your Mark is set to help those young people furthest from the jobs market. We are looking forward to working with Marks & Spencer and witnessing the incredible benefits this will bring to the next generation.”