Since then, over 3,000 young people have gone through the scheme, with over 70% going into temporary jobs within M&S immediately after the programme.

Make Your Mark is a training and mentoring scheme that gives unemployed young people the skills, experience and confidence they need to find a job. One of the young people who was offered a role following completion of the Make Your Mark programme is Joel Fields.

Joel had lived in care from the age of six, until he was put into Independent Living at the age of 17; which helps young people without any family support to learn to look after themselves.

He started a college course in music and media but, just as it looked like his life was finally stabilising, he ran out of money. His new address meant a longer journey to college and he couldn’t manage the increased fares.

Soon afterwards, Joel was told about The Prince’s Trust Make Your Mark programme by the warden where he was living. Joel attended a Taster Day and was chosen for the programme, where he impressed staff so much that following successful completion of the programme, he was offered a full time job at a new M&S store near Birmingham, where he still works.

I was amazed. They put me behind a desk on Customer Service. I’d seen people doing desk jobs before, but I never dreamt it could be me one day. I love my job and I hope I’m a role model to other young people. The team here is my new family.

Make Your Mark is inspired by Marks & Start, M&S’ successful employability scheme for people who face barriers into employment. Since 2004 it has enabled over 13,000 people to complete placements in stores and offices across the country, with 50% gaining employment with M&S or another employer within three months.

Make Your Mark takes this commitment to the next level with a commitment to support even more people by creating 1,400 places a year in a youth-focused programme. The programme comprises the following elements:

  • Recruitment: The Prince’s Trust work with local referral partners to recruit applicants via criteria mutually-developed with M&S. Applications can be made directly to The Prince’s Trust, local referral partners or through employee referrals.
  • Induction and training: M&S and The Prince’s Trust provide an initial induction prior to placement, followed by additional training modules throughout the four weeks to hone skills developed whilst working in-store, improve confidence and prepare them for any future job search.
  • On-the-job training: During the four-week programme, participants complete on-the-job training in an M&S store. Regular feedback and guidance are provided via a dedicated buddy to ensure the participant is achieving M&S standards of customer service.
  • Evaluation and post-programme support: If the participant performs well and receives a satisfactory evaluation from their manager and buddy after placement, they may go straight into a vacancy if and when one becomes available. If the young person requires additional support prior to employment, or if a job vacancy isn’t available at their store, they will be offered up to six months post-programme support with The Prince’s Trust to find an alternative outcome.