It’s not just a training opportunity – at M&S

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One of Britain’s biggest retailers is providing opportunities for jobless Sheffield youngsters after joining forces with charity The Prince’s Trust.

Marks & Spencer is offering 16 places through its Make Your Mark scheme to help reduce youth unemployment – there are currently about 12,600 people aged 16 to 24 in Sheffield not in work.

An M&S spokesman said: “Make Your Mark is an on-the-job training and mentoring programme designed to address the skills and experience gap that prevents unemployed young people – aged between 16 and 24 – from finding work. The first session was launched in July and jobs were offered to all participants who passed each element.

Lindsay Austin, store manager at M&S Meadowhall, one of three stores run by the chain in Sheffield, said: “There are hundreds of thousands of young people across the UK struggling to find work.

“We’re extremely proud to be helping to support some of those through Make Your Mark.

“We hope to make a real and lasting impact on young people coming through the programme.”

Since 2004, Make Your Mark has enabled more than 1,100 young people to complete placements across the country, with 50 per cent gaining employment with M&S or another programme within three months.

Opportunities under the Marks & Spencer scheme were revealed as figures showed unemployment in Sheffield fell.

The proportion of working-age people claiming jobseekers’ allowance in Sheffield dropped to 4.5 per cent in July – but is still above the national average.

n To find out more about the programme, call 0800 842 842 or visit www.princes-trust.org.uk/makeyourmark