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Employment, support, Marks & StartA Swansea man, who has battled for more than a decade with depression and anxiety, has turned his life around with help from Remploy and Marks & Spencer.
 
Stuart Harris, aged 47, has secured full-time, permanent employment as a Customer Assistant in an M&S Food hall in Fforestfach, as part of the ‘Marks & Start’ programme.
 
Stuart’s anxiety and depression was triggered after a failed adoption attempt and the breakdown of his marriage in 2005.
 
He took part in the Marks & Start scheme which helps people who face barriers to employment. The initiative gives jobseekers the chance to develop their skills and gain experience over the course of a placement, and is designed to be the stepping-stone to employment with M&S - or with other employers. Remploy is one of the partners M&S works with, focusing on helping individuals with health conditions and disabilities to gain vital workplace skills and sustainable employment.
 
Stuart said: “Going for jobs was really nerve wracking at first but the help and support I received from Remploy gave me the confidence I needed to get stuck in at M&S. Working makes me feel better about myself and has helped me to control my down moments.
 
“I really enjoyed the Marks & Start placement as I got to learn about the different areas of the business. I was offered a permanent role with M&S after my placement and short temporary contract finished. They didn’t need to ask me twice - I was down to the store to sign my contract within 15 minutes of getting the call!”
 
Stuart was out of work for eight years before getting the job with M&S and he has now turned his attention to the future and is currently saving up for a car and a holiday to Turkey.
 
Judith Henderson, Stuart’s Manager at M&S, said: “We’re delighted to offer Stuart a permanent position with us. He’s enthusiastic, reliable and flexible – a great asset to our team. We’re thrilled to have access to such a fantastic pool of talented people through Remploy  and our Marks & Start programme.”