Ashley and Sheridan get the right start with M & S | Remploy

Our site uses cookies to improve your experience. By continuing to use our site you are agreeing to the storage of cookies on your device. To find out more please read our cookie policy.

Published Friday, 8th April 2016

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

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

Both Ashley and recently-appointed Sheridan Sharpe were born with hand disabilities but they are determined not to let anything interfere with their commitment to undertake all the usual duties associated with working in a busy city store. Ashley has recently celebrated his third anniversary working for 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 disability employment specialists Remploy, which helped them prepare for work after frustrating periods of unemployment. Both really wanted jobs but felt their disability had become a barrier.

“When I left school I studied art and design at college but left full time education without a clear picture of what the future might hold,” said Ashley. “During my year of looking for a job, I qualified as a fork lift driver. Although I knew I was physically able to take on a range of jobs, employers were reluctant to give me a chance. Remploy gave me the opportunity to show I was just as capable as anybody else and although working in retail had never crossed my mind, I’m delighted to now be part of the M&S family.”

Sheridan, 22, from Manor Park, 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 gave me a great opportunity,” added Sheridan. “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.”

“We have a really positive relationship with Remploy. 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. Through work, they gain skills, independence and confidence. 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.”


Photo caption: Getting the right start: (L to R) Sally Lockwood from Remploy, M&S store manager Hedley Corney, and Sheridan and Ashley.

For further information and interview requests, please contact:

Tim Crowther, Crowther Communications Ltd
07710 356355

David Felton, Remploy
07803 214682

Notes to Editors:

  • Remploy was established 70 years ago to provide training and employment after the Second World War for injured and disabled ex-servicemen and miners.
  • Since 2010, Remploy has found more than 100,000 jobs in mainstream employment for people with a range of physical, sensory and learning disabilities, mental health conditions and other disadvantages.
  • Remploy works with more than 2,500 employer partners including Marks & Spencer, TC Facilities Management, BT, Mitie, ASDA, Royal Mail, Sainsbury’s and the NHS
  • Remploy operates a free Workplace Mental Health Support Service to help maintain in employment people with stress, depression, anxiety or other mental health issues
  • It invests in developing innovative services for employers which are cost effective and business efficient including consultancy and a vocational rehabilitation service
  • In March 2015, Remploy entered into a joint venture with MAXIMUS, a leading operator of government health and human services programmes in the United States, UK, Canada, Australia and Saudi Arabia and on 7 April 2015 Remploy left government ownership in the joint venture in which Remploy employees have a 30% stake.