Ashley and Sheridan get the right start | Ashley and Sheridan get the right start | Remploy

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4 workers from Marks and Spencer standing in front of shop logo

“Remploy had belief in me and M&S has given me this great opportunity.”

The success of a 23-year-old man who works at Marks & Spencer on Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, is proof that disability is no barrier to a career in retailing.

Ashley Klein is in line to be a supervisor and his success is inspiring the store’s latest recruit to aim just as high. Both Ashley and recently-appointed Sheridan Sharpe were born with hand disabilities but they are determined not to let anything interfere with working in a busy city store.

Ashley has recently celebrated his third anniversary at Marks & Spencer and, whilst Sheridan’s career is still in its early days, he has similar ambitions to make progress.

Ashley and Sheridan have both been supported by Remploy, which helped them prepare for work after being unemployed. Both really wanted jobs but felt their disability had become a barrier. “I left full-time education and was physically able to take on a range of jobs, but employers were reluctant. Remploy gave me the opportunity to show I was just as capable as anybody else and I’m delighted to be part of the M&S family.”

Sheridan, 22, successfully completed two apprenticeships after leaving school but his self-esteem remained very low. With Remploy’s support, he embarked on a work placement with Marks & Spencer. Through its Marks & Start initiative, M&S offers job opportunities to those who face complex barriers to employment, including people with disabilities and health conditions. He emerged with a job and has recently started work alongside Ashley. “Remploy had belief in me and Marks & Spencer has given me this great opportunity. Ash has shown that by working hard the opportunities are there and he has made me determined to succeed too. My confidence is growing daily, along with my determination not let anything get in the way.”

“Ashley and Sheridan have shown great drive and commitment and we are thrilled to have access to such a fantastic pool of talented people through Remploy's direct hire recruitment service and our Marks & Start programme.” said Store Manager Hedley Corney.

Remploy Business Manager Sally Lockwood added, “It’s always extremely satisfying to see the success of our candidates. Remploy works alongside a number of positive-thinking employers who are willing to disregard disability and concentrate on the contributions people can make to their business and Marks & Spencer is certainly one of them.”