15 December, 2015

Making the most of everyone’s talents

In May 2011, M&S appointed Remploy as our official disability partner. As the UK’s leading provider of disability employment services, they were the natural choice to support us. They bring talented people into the business, who face barriers getting into work, both through their direct hire service and M&S's Marks & Start work placement programme. The partnership has proved to be a huge success, resulting in thousands of recruits joining us in our stores nationwide, as well as in logistics at our national distribution centre at Castle Donington.

One of these success stories is Theo Abraham who works at Castle Donington. “I was referred to the Marks & Start programme via Remploy,” he explains. “I am deaf and without speech, but have never let that deter me when it comes to work.”

Indeed it hasn’t. As Remploy candidates have had structured pre-development, they are able to shortcut the recruitment process by going straight to the store assessment centre with no need for online screening. When a candidate is offered a job, Remploy then provides store managers with all the support needed to help their new employee settle in and progress.

Theo’s progress is testimony to the success of the scheme.  “My experiences bring a new perspective to our discussions. I love knowing that I have helped make a difference to other people’s lives. I’m a real people person, and will happily communicate with anyone,” he says. “I attribute my success in the role to my easy-going nature and willingness to work hard. People often approach me to help them resolve issues, which makes me feel really proud. I aid them in any way that I can and encourage them to move forward and do their job with a smile on their face.”

The Marks & Start programme is designed to help people with disabilities or health conditions, young people, single parents and people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Potential candidates are taken through comprehensive pre-employment modules developed by Remploy. Those who successfully complete the modules take part in a two or four-week placement in an M&S store or the retailer's national distribution centre, and are then offered a suitable vacancy.

Let’s leave the last word to Theo. “I’d encourage anyone overcoming a disability to work with Remploy – I haven’t had a bad day at work since I joined M&S. It’s changed my life”.

For more information on Marks & Start, click here.

Inside M&S