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Marks & Start

Marks and Starts logoMarks & Start gives the opportunity of work experience to people of different ages and walks of life, helping them get ready to access the world of work.

We recognise the importance single parents place on giving time to bringing up their children and the challenges of combining parenting with paid work. We also know that, for many, employment is a positive choice and their best chance of a better future for themselves and their children. This programme is available for single parents who want to get back into work.

The programme covers:

Three days’ work preparation training:

  • Confidence building
  • Employability skills
  • Communication skills
  • Work-life balance
  • Information about childcare options
  • Gingerbread membership included.


  • Induction training with Marks & Spencer
  • Two-week work experience placements, flexible, to fit around school hours
  • Buddies – support during placements for single parents
  • Meals, travel costs and uniform provided
  • Support – each participant will have access to support during and after their placement, including a telephone helpline.


  • Our programme will help single parents make an informed decision about whether returning to work is right for them
  • It will also prepare single parents for the world of work and refer them to jobs or other training opportunities.

Who can take part?

Single parents who:

  • Have children of school age or younger,
  • Have been out of the job market and are actively considering returning to work.
  • Are eligible to work in the UK and would be subject to Marks & Spencer selection criteria.

The programme is available in: 

  • Greater London
  • Northwest (Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire)
  • Wales (Cardiff & Newport, Swansea & Neath, Merthyr & Ebbw Vale)

Running from September 2017 to March 2018. Register your interest now to secure a place.

What do single parents say?

Find out more about Marks & Start and read about the experiences of single parents who have joined the programme on M&S Careers.

Marks & Spencer is working in partnership with Gingerbread, the leading charity for single parent families, plus local organisations, to deliver this programme as part of Marks & Start, its flagship Corporate Social Responsibility Programme.


Contact us via our form. A member of our team will be in touch with you to talk you through the next steps. You can also call us to register your interest or to discuss what might be suitable for you:

- 0800 652 3166 (London)
- +44 (0) 2920 471900 (Wales)
- +44 (0) 161 636 7540 (Northwest)

Even if we don’t currently run a programme in your area, get in touch so that we can let you know if we launch one near you.


See answers to many of our most frequently asked questions in the meantime.