The pandemic has had a huge effect on all of us with regards our careers. More people are now working remotely, others have sadly lost their jobs because of the economic impact. Our young people inparticular have been hardest hit. Those trying to get their foot on the employment ladder, with fewer roles out there.

The majority of young people want more and better quality work experience opportunities and are worried that in a post-Covid-19 labour market they will be competing for fewer job opportunities with people with more years experience.

A Youth Employment survey, carried out at the end of last year, sought to understand the impact Covid-19 is having on young people’s employment and prospects and to find solutions to create a better future for this generation.

  • 20% of young people say that the main barrier to finding work in  the career they want is the access to work experience. 
  • 32% go further to say that work experience opportunities is the most useful support they could receive right now.

In an attempt to help in that area, M&S Culverhouse Cross is taking applications for a newly launched work placement programme to enable young people, aged 16-24, 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 across the breadth of the country.

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 including six placements delivered in Cardiff in April. 

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

The Kickstart colleagues will join M&S Culverhouse Cross 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.  

Neil Enoch is Store Manager at M&S Culverhouse Cross, he told us…..

“As one of thirty Regional Academy stores, we are delighted to be involved in the Kickstart programme to support young people gain valuable experience to further build employability and life skills longer term. Whilst the last twelve-months have been particularly challenging for young people in particular, we look forward to welcoming the first cohort to our team in April and supporting them on their career journey.”   

M&S Colleagues

The Director of Fundraising for the Prince’s Trust is Frances Milner, she told us….

“We’ve been working in partnership with Marks & Spencer for more than 16 years and in that time have helped more than 9,000 young people to develop their confidence and skills for work. 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.”

Francis Milner – Prince’s Trust

The SOUTH WALES LIFE team have history with The Prince’s Trust and have seen so many young people change, and turn their life around, thanks to the support they have given.

The Trust are open to young people aged 11 to 30 from all over the UK – no matter if they have been facing some serious issues such as homelessness or if they’ve been in trouble with the law. If they’re willing to aim high – they are there.

If you look at it in pure financial terms, they have returned £1.4 billion in value to society through help for young people over the last 10 years alone.

HRH Prince Charles who started the Trust in 1976

To find out more about the work of The Prince’s Trust, go HERE.

M&S has a long-standing history of providing employability opportunities through its Marks & Start scheme. Since 2004, together with partners including The Prince’s Trust, M&S has supported over 9,000 young people, to find an accessible route into work through the programme. Additionally, M&S offers a range of early careers opportunities with roles across its business – including apprenticeships, school leaver programme and its graduate scheme.

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 locations across the UK. To see a list of every location in the UK, just go HERE.

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