3 December, 2015

A milestone we can all be proud of

In May 2011, Marks & Spencer plc appointed Remploy as its official disability partner. This partnership has now supported 2,000 candidates into employment at M&S stores nationwide and in our logistics business at our national distribution centre at Castle Donington.

As the UK's leading provider of disability employment services, Remploy was chosen to recruit, retain and sustain talented individuals who face barriers getting into work both through its direct hire service and M&S' Marks & Start work placement programme. Through Remploy's direct hire service, M&S has access to a group of job-ready, capable and motivated candidates who are already aware of what M&S looks for in a successful employee.

Eliese Bull became the milestone 2,000th Remploy candidate to be recruited by us when she landed a job as a bakery assistant at our Foodhall in Camden, London.

The 34-year-old mum from nearby Archway described her relief at being back in work following two years’ unemployment, which resulted in her being diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

“I worked for 10 years as a health care assistant but had to give up my job when my daughter was born three years ago,” she explained. “After a time I was desperate to get back to work but I lacked confidence and started to doubt that any employer would want to take me on.”

It was only when Eliese was referred to Remploy’s Caledonian Road branch in London for specialist support with her job searching that she began to regain her self-belief.

“My employment advisor was absolutely superb,” recalled Eliese. “She provided me with one-to-one support, boosted my confidence and prepared me for interviews that she insisted would come. I hadn’t had an interview for more than a decade so the prospect was intimidating, to say the least.” 

The support paid off when Eliese successfully completed a development session in branch, which allowed her to bypass our online recruitment process and secure an interview directly with our store in Camden. The interview included a work trial where she impressed them straightaway, and was offered a full time role in the busy bakery.

Said Eliese: “I was overjoyed when I was told I had got the job. Everyone was so friendly and helpful at the store, and immediately made me feel part of the team.”

Her new role involves 5am starts, ensuring bread and pastries are in the oven and ready for the store opening two hours later. “I don’t mind having to be up early and I’m only a 15 minute bus ride away. The important thing is I have a job I enjoy and I am happy again. I’ve regained my financial independence and have made many new friends. Life couldn’t be better.”

Bakery manager Karen Stokes added: “Eliese is making good progress. She has a bubbly personality, which is just what is needed for a career in the retail sector.

“The great thing about having a job at M&S is that provided you are willing to work hard and use your initiative, there are no limits to what you can achieve.” 

Tanith Dodge, HR Director added: “We’re delighted to have reached this milestone moment with Remploy. Through Marks & Start, we hope to give individuals just like Eliese the opportunity that can be the turning point they need to change their lives for the better. We know the scheme also motivates and engages our existing employees, creates new development opportunities and builds a real sense of pride within our teams.” 

For more information on our Marks & Start work placement programme, click here.

Inside M&S