28-year-old Nathan has worked at Marks & Spencer HR Shared Services for all of his working life - an opportunity he wouldn't have found without the help of Business in the Community's partnership with Marks & Spencer. Now a long-established member of the M&S team, Nathan explains his journey into employment.
Around eight years ago I finished my college course and was staying in emergency student accommodation in Manchester town centre after being made homeless. With no suitable work experience, and no fixed home, I found it impossible to get a job. My emergency student accommodation was due to end putting even more pressure on me to find employment – but my confidence was at rock bottom.
I got in touch with a company called Rathbone in Manchester that I’d heard could help me get into employment. I worked hard, building my skills for interview, but I still couldn’t find employment. I was trying to build my confidence up, but each rejection was another knock to my self-esteem.
It wasn’t until I approached Business in the Community that things started to improve. Through their Ready for Work programme I was coached on how to improve my chances of getting a job and what to expect in the workplace. They worked with me to secure a two-week placement at Marks and Spencer, working in HR Shared Services. The placement gave me a great insight into working life,
After my two-week placement Marks & Spencer saw the potential in me and offered me a full-time job. I officially started with Marks and Spencer 14th March 2010. This opportunity changed my life and started to give me back the confidence I thought I had lost.
Seven years later and I’m still a proud employee of Marks & Spencer. In my time already I’ve been awarded Employee of the Month, and have also been a part of various projects within the business such as becoming a Plan A Representative, helping to protect the planet such as reducing waste, energy saving, wellbeing and supporting communities with charity projects.
I’m now become a contact for Ready for Work at M&S HR Shared Services, and have supported a range of people to settle in and complete their placement. Since I have been working here I have seen many people gain experience from their placement and I find it very inspiring. I enjoy being part of the programme because I enjoy meeting new people, but I also genuinely understand how difficult it can be to find employment as well as how scary it can be.
Ready for Work gave me hope of finding employment, and helped me to find a job that was most suited to me and the skills I had developed at college. The support I received through Ready for Work and the opportunity I was offered from Marks & Spencer has taken me from rock bottom and given me a new confidence and independence, that has helped me to make big decisions – I recently moved into my own place, and have just got married!
Watch this short video to hear more from Nathan about his experience of Ready for Work.