Level 4
Retail Management Apprenticeship For School Leavers

We’re no strangers to innovation at M&S. As part of our ongoing drive to put digital first, we’ve invested in Founders Factory as a UK and European retail partner. Founders Factory is the brainchild of Lastminute.com founder, Brent Hoberman, and Henry Lane Fox.

Together with Founders Factory, we’ve launched Founders Factory Retail, an exciting joint venture that is putting some new firsts on the map. They source the best new startup thinking; we add our wealth of expertise and resources, and together we make sure the best and brightest projects get the platform they deserve. It’s the perfect meeting of minds. Daniel is our Lead for the project. He’s excited by the possibilities.

“I manage the partnership from M&S’ side. This involves everything from validating startups and project managing trials to organising start-up-themed events. In short, it’s my job to ensure the partnership delivers for M&S. It has the potential to play a crucial role in our transformation. It’s off to a great start.”

As well as the opportunity to diversify our business and take it in new directions, the partnership offers a chance to enhance our renowned customer service. This was the thinking behind our very first sign-up, Charged Up. It’s an on-the-go charging service that allows our customers to stay connected while they’re shopping. We’re set to trial it in eight London stores and Charged Up has a further 250 docking stations across the city.

There are also projects underway for Clothing & Home, where we are testing new software from a technology start-up, and for HR, where we have signed our first commercial contract. This just goes to show the wealth and variety of thinking out there.

“Meeting and working with entrepreneurs is probably the most inspiring part of my role. They are a unique set of professionals. Passionate, pacey and fiercely determined, they bring a razor-sharp focus to making their company a success. These are all businesses solving retail problems, driving new trends and looking to disrupt traditional markets."

All the early signs point to the start of a beautiful – and fruitful – relationship with Founders Factory.

Career questions?

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My greatest achievement was getting this job
Shawn Walster - Engineering Training Manager


  • At least 4 GCSEs at grade 4/C or above including Maths, English and Science or equivalent (expected or gained).
  • A passion for working with your hands, solving problems and getting to grips with the latest high-tech mechatronic, electrical, mechanical and fluid power equipment.
  • Ability to take on a role that requires outstanding attention to detail and work well as part of a team.
  • Patience and a willingness to work and study hard to progress on one of the most forward-looking apprenticeship schemes around.

The Benefits

  • Starting salary
  • Holiday
  • Store discount
  • Free uniform and safety wear

Further Discounts On:

  • Gym membership
  • Cinema tickets
  • Computers
  • Travel


Meet Rob

Before joining M&S, Rob was working and enjoyed fixing equipment but wasn’t sure about his next careers steps as he thought you needed to attend university to have a career in Engineering. After looking at opportunities he found out that this wasn’t the case at all, and applied for the M&S apprenticeship programme. Now, he has the opportunity to learn and develop his engineering skills whilst being paid and carving out a career path for himself.

  • Thorough
  • Adaptable
  • Organised
  • Determined
  • Eager to learn
  • Hands-on


Meet Brandon

During school, Brandon attended a mini course on Engineering and this sparked his interest in this area – he enjoyed the balance between theory and practical application, being hands on with a range of equipment, so wanted to join the M&S apprenticeship programme as he felt a college course didn’t provide the same learning opportunities. He’s learnt loads about motors, electricity, pneumatics and welding, even feeling confident to use some of his new found skills to fix his own car.

  • Thorough
  • Adaptable
  • Organised
  • Determined
  • Eager to learn
  • Hands-on


Meet Josh

Josh always knew he wanted to be an Engineer. At college he studied Engineering for 2 years and found out about the M&S apprenticeship scheme when he saw a flyer for it. He was attracted to this programme as he would be working for M&S but he also receives training at the Toyota Academy – what could be better! 18 months on and the programme is delivering for Josh and he can’t wait to move into the second part at M&S Castle Donington.

  • Thorough
  • Adaptable
  • Organised
  • Determined
  • Eager to learn
  • Hands-on


Meet Adam

At school, Adam studied Engineering as one of his GCSEs and believed that a practical style of work would be better suited to him. His dad and grandad had worked in engineering, and he decided he wanted to follow in their footsteps. Being local to Toyota he attended the open evening and discovered M&S were offering opportunities. The M&S brand attracted him and when he left school at 16 he joined their apprenticeship programme, and started his engineering career.

  • Thorough
  • Adaptable
  • Organised
  • Determined
  • Eager to learn
  • Hands-on


Meet Shawn

Shawn started his apprenticeship in 1985, following in his dad’s footsteps at a local engineering firm, he learnt his engineering trade but he was also taught a great work ethic and attitude from the older, wiser engineers who were his mentors. Whilst time has moved on and there have been advancements in technology and automation Shawn believes apprenticeships are key to developing engineering skills for now and in the future, but in his role as Engineering Training Manager enables him to give something back to the M&S apprentices by coaching, supporting and mentoring them to be successful.

  • Thorough
  • Adaptable
  • Organised
  • Determined
  • Eager to learn
  • Hands-on

History Of The Scheme

It’s amazing that our relationship with school leavers spans over 40 years. So if you’re thinking of joining this scheme, be assured you’ll be making history.

Find out more

Your Journey with M&S

  • 1

    Applications open

    25 Feb – 1 April

    Click here to apply now
  • 2

    Aptitude assessment

    April - May

    Five, short, paper-based tests at Toyota, Burnaston.

  • 3

    Assessment centres

    May - June

    Group exercise, manual dexterity test and interview at M&S, Castle Donington.

  • 4


    June - July and if applicable exam results confirmation in August.

Your start date will be 2 September with M&S, and you will commence your apprenticeship programme at the Toyota Academy on 9 September

  • Part 1 – Months 1-22 at Toyota Academy, Burnaston

    Your first 22 months will be spent in the Toyota Academy at Burnaston, where you’ll learn about engineering theory and more practical matters such as: hand tools, welding, machining, robotics, power systems and electronics. Personal development courses will help you to build skills like teamwork and practical problem solving, and there will be a team building activity – meaning a month away. There will be some placement months at Castle Donington and you’ll begin your studies at Burton & South Derbyshire College.

  • Part 2 – Months 23-44 at Castle Donington

    Your second 22 months will be spent at Castle Donington. Here, you’ll build on your experiences at the Academy by moving into a live, hands-on maintenance engineering role, which will give you the opportunity to put your new skills into practice. On a technical level, you’ll learn about things like motors, protection and safety systems, digital electronics and sensing devices. You’ll continue your studies at Burton & South Derbyshire College and benefit from additional personal development courses.

    On completion of the programme and achievement of the Level 3 qualification, we anticipate permanent opportunities as a Maintenance Engineer will be available, where your career and development will continue on our Engineering development pathway.