British retailer Marks & Spencer is offering 1,400 work experience placements to jobless 16- 25 year-olds in a bid to tackle youth unemployment.
The Make Your Mark scheme, which begins today, will be in partnership with The Prince’s Trust charity and will provide 37 hours of weekly training for four weeks.
Those who complete placements also have the chance to work full time at M&S, if they perform well.
Marc Bolland, Chief Executive at Marks & Spencer, 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.”
950,000 young people are currently out of work and the retail sector has the highest vacancy rate for all industries with 79,000 vacancies announced for the last quarter.
The scheme sees M&S expand its previous placement programme, Marks & Start, which took on 1,100 young people last year. The company said that around 50% of those participants went into employment with M&S or another employer within 13 weeks.
Under Make Your Mark, if a job vacancy is not available at M&S following a placement or if further support is needed, The Prince’s Trust will provide help for six months to find an alternative.