Marks & Spencer is teaming up with disability organisation Remploy to offer work experience opportunities for disabled people, under its flagship employability programme Marks &Start.

Marks & Start gives people who traditionally face barriers gaining access to the workplace a chance to participate in structured work placements at M&S stores across the UK. The two to four week placements give comprehensive training and the day-to-day support of a coach and a buddy. They also receive travel expenses and free meals during the placement. Since the programme launched in 2004 almost 4,000 people have completed a placement, with approximately 40% gaining employment within three months either with M&S or another employer.

These placements will complement the work of M&S’ existing disability partner DisabledGo, who will continue to work with M&S to develop much needed advice on disabled access and services, benefitting disabled people across the UK.

Tanith Dodge, Director of Human Resources at Marks & Spencer said: “We’re delighted to extend our partnership with Remploy. As our new Marks & Start partner they will bring a wealth of experience in assisting disabled people to enter the job market. The success of our Marks & Start programme is built on the close relationship we enjoy with our partners and participants and we’re looking forward to forging a strong relationship with Remploy in the coming months and years.”

Ayden Sims, Remploy’s National Partnership manager said: “Remploy has been working with Marks & Spencer as a preferred recruitment provider since November 2009. Being named as Marks & Start’s new disability partner will provide our candidates with valuable experience that will improve their CV and offer them an opportunity in retail that is second-to-none.”