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Not just any job - M&S make a creative position just for Maranu after work-trial

07 Aug 2019

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Young aspiring actress, Maranu Farrell from Witley in Surrey, had to put her theatre dreams on hold after an attack of glandular fever led to chronic fatigue and having to drop out of college. 

The 18 year old was studying for her A Levels, as well as attending Stagecoach Performing Arts and the Guildford School of Acting but struggled to manage her condition and had to put it all on hold. Wanting to get into work, Maranu was referred to MAXIMUS, who work in partnership with Remploy, the employment, skills and disability specialists.

She said: “There was a huge gap in my CV after leaving college. I tried applying for vacancies but felt I wasn’t getting anywhere as I didn’t even get replies or feedback. I used to be so energetic but I knew it would be a long journey to get back to the old me and get into work.”

After getting to know her needs and establishing that Maranu was particularly interested in visual merchandising and interior design, she was referred to the Marks & Start scheme, a four week placement to help improve her employment prospects and give her a taste of being in work.

The Marks & Start scheme 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. 

Maranu said: “I get involved in the organisation of the store, things like the presentation, signage and making sure the mannequins are looking good. It’s different every day which I enjoy. I used to be such an active person and I like being busy. A lot has changed but because I work three days a week I can manage my condition and get the rest I need on my days off. 

“My line manager has also been very supportive and helped me manage my energy during the placement by being flexible and allowing me to take breaks when needed. I’m really proud of myself for getting this role. I wanted to work and now I have something important to do. Plus I’ve just passed my driving test so I’m saving up for a car!”

Helen Davison Jenkins, Employer Engagement Specialist for MAXIMUS, who deliver the Marks & Start scheme in partnership with Remploy, said: “This is a real example of partnership working, proving that utilising schemes like Marks & Start can be a valuable option for participants to gain critical work experience. The Guildford store manager was so impressed with Maranu that they created a merchandising position just for her, even though they didn’t have a vacancy because they didn’t want to let her go. It is so lovely to see her flourishing and growing in confidence."

For general enquiries and more information about Marks & Start, please contact 0300 456 8110.