M&S Employability Programme Sparks Retail Success

Hart Learning & Development’s collaboration with Marks & Spencer (M&S) has helped launch the retail careers of local people in Hertfordshire through our Marks & Spencer’s Employability Programme.


The bespoke Employability Programme was designed and launched ahead of the new M&S superstore opening in Stevenage back in April 2022. The programme is designed to teach local people about the core M&S brand values and prepare them for a successful career in a retail environment. Since the programme’s initial launch in January 2022, Hart Learning & Development have delivered three courses which have taught and supported 72 unemployed candidates through the programme and assessment centre. We’re proud to share that 82% of these learners have since been offered a role at the new M&S Stevenage store upon completion of their training, with several of their peers still on an extended work experience pathway that will ultimately lead to employment.


Following this success, the programme has since expanded with HLD now providing training for M&S stores in Stevenage, Biggleswade, Royston, and Colchester.


Learners on the programme have gained core skills which prepared them for their next career step, either with M&S or in another retail environment. These skills include motivation, customer service, employability skills, mental health awareness, and safeguarding awareness. Learners have also participated in interview preparation sessions and CV building workshops to help them progress into employment.


Participants on the programme include local people who have been out of work for a length of time, or who wanted a skills boost to help them secure employment. Lynne, one of our learners who completed the M&S Employability Programme with Hart Learning & Development, is testament to this.


Lynne, who is 60 years old and has been unemployed for a length of time, was initially apprehensive about returning to further education. Our tutors have described her as having gone from strength to strength since completing her Employability Programme, having now secured full-time employment at the M&S Stevenage store. When asked about her experience of the M&S Employability Programme, Lynne said: “The course and this opportunity have changed my life and made me believe in myself again. I cannot shout about this course enough.”


Kelly Ireland, Head of Employability at Hart Learning & Development, said: “The programme has been a great success. Our learners are super prepared when they finish their programme, which is why so many job offers have been made. The Stevenage partnership has really made a difference in local people’s lives. Hart Learning & Development’s close working relationship with Marks & Spencer is testament to the success of the programme, alongside Stevenage Job Centre Plus and other local providers.”


Hart Learning & Development’s Marks & Spencer’s Employability Programme continues to train local people to prepare them for a successful retail career. More information about this programme can be found on the Employability Programme page.

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