M&S opens 1,000 jobs up to the disabled people at new distribution centre
Marks & Spencer is to create 1,000 jobs at its new 900,000 sq ft distribution centre in Castle Donington in the East Midlands.
The retailer will use Marks & Start Logistics, a new Plan A employability scheme for people with disabilities and health conditions, as one of the main recruitment channels for the roles which include warehouse operatives, engineers, mechanics, administrative staff, transport controllers and management.
Due to open in early 2013, the distribution centre is set to be the UK's largest dedicated e-commerce warehouse and will distribute two million clothing and home products each week direct to M&S customers and stores across the country.
Marks & Spencer said it was introducing the Marks & Start scheme at the centre following its success in the retailer’s stores and offices. The scheme will help to recruit, train and employ people to work at the centre and will be run in partnership with the Remploy Employment Service which helps disabled people 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, added: "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% are in employment compared to 78% 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."
The site at Castle Donington is 900,000 sq ft and iss fully mechanised using some of the latest technology in the warehousing industry including automated storage and retrieval systems, and sophisticated warehouse management systems. It also features Europe’s largest solar wall to help power light and heating.
Commenting on the news, 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."
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