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New scheme for people with disabilities to support an inclusive workforce
Marks & Spencer (M&S) today announces 1,000 new roles at its new 900,000 sq ft distribution centre in Castle Donington, due to open in early 2013. Set to be the UK's largest dedicated e-commerce warehouse, it will distribute two million clothing and home products a week direct to customer homes and M&S stores across the country.
A new Plan A employability scheme for people with disabilities and health conditions - Marks & Start Logistics - will be one of the recruitment channels used to recruit for these new roles – which include warehouse operatives, engineers, mechanics administrative staff, transport controllers and management.
Inspired by the successful Marks & Start scheme that operates in M&S stores and offices, Marks & Start Logistics will help recruit, train and employ people with disabilities and health conditions to work at Castle Donington. It will be run in partnership with Remploy Employment Service, which specialises in giving disabled people the support they need to overcome barriers to work.
Darrell Stein, Director of IT and Logistics at Marks & Spencer, said: "Castle Donington is a key part of M&S' strategy for the future. This new distribution centre will help us deliver our goal of being a leading multi-channel retailer by 2015. It will also allow us to better serve our customers with improved product availability and extended delivery options. We're delighted to be creating 1000 new roles as part of this plan and we hope it will provide an economic boost for the East Midlands.”
Tanith Dodge, HR Director at Marks & Spencer, said: “We want to support as many people with disabilities into the workplace as possible by taking our Marks & Start scheme to a new scale and a new part of the business. Around 10 million disabled people live in the UK and only 49 per cent are in employment compared to 78 per cent of non-disabled people. It doesn't have to be this way. Our experience tells us that people who face barriers to the work place are committed, motivated and valued employees.”
Esther McVey, Minister for the Disabled, said: "Although the employment rate of disabled people has improved over the past few years, around half of all disabled people are still not in work and those that are often work far below their potential.
“That is why I'd urge other employers to follow the example of M&S and look hard at their recruitment and work practices to make sure they don't miss out on the extensive talents of disabled people."
Beth Carruthers, Director of Employment Services at Remploy, said: "I applaud M&S for this commitment - this wonderful new distribution centre will provide jobs for a large number of disabled people in the East Midlands, allowing them to maximise their talent. The Paralympics was a wonderful example of the achievements of disabled people. Every day at Remploy we see disabled people demonstrate their talents in the workplace and Marks & Start Logistics will give many more an opportunity to shine through sustainable employment.”
Marks & Start Logistics - how does it work?
Remploy Employment Services will work with local referral partners and provide employability skills training for participants. Those participants who successfully complete this part of the programme will then take part in on-site M&S technical and skills based training using simulated equipment.
Following the training, participants will complete a two week work placement where they will be working in a team in a live environment. At the end of their placement the team leader and participant will review whether the participant is ready for employment at M&S Castle Donington or whether further training and support is required. Remploy who will continue to work with participants who require further support prior to employment or with participants who decide that this opportunity is not right for them.
Castle Donington facts