Spotlight on Marks & Spencer

Monday, December 16th, 2019

Business in the Community Ireland

We are thrilled to spotlight Marks & Spencer in this Christmas e-zine and to congratulate Marks & Spencer Mary Street in celebrating 40 years in Ireland. Marks & Spencer have been committed to the Skills @ Work programme since 2000 and are widely involved in partnerships across Ireland. The contribution that Marks & Spencer make through their school partnerships in supporting young people and helping them prepare for the world of work is truly invaluable and we look forward to continuing this long established thriving partnership with them.

Marks & Spencer Skills @ Work partnerships:

  • M&S Letterkenny and Royal & Prior Comprehensive School
  • M&S Clonmel & Central Technical Institute, Clonmel
  • M&S Kerry & Killarney Community College
  • M&S Cork & St Patrick’s College
  • M&S Galway & Scoil Phobail Mhic Dara
  • M&S Mary Street & Larkin Community College

Business in the Community Ireland Kate Mc Corkell, Manager, Leonie Walsh and Chris Mc Ghee, Managerial Team at M&S Letterkenny

Sandra Fagan M&S Business Working Responsibly mark

Sandra Fagan being presented with the BITCI Business Working Responsibly Mark for M&S

Sandra Fagan, Head of Human Resources, Marks and Spencer Ireland


Why is the Skills @ Work Programme important to M&S Ireland?

It is extremely important to M&S as it is our link to all six communities (Dublin, Cork, Killarney, Clonmel, Galway and Letterkenny) and is an expression of our commitment to them. Also, the students really enjoy the programme and gain insights into the world of work, and our colleagues in these stores get great satisfaction from helping the students.

What does the commitment of the company to this programme mean to you, as an individual?

To me this programme embodies the ethos of M&S – supporting communities in a practical, empowering way.

What is your one hope/wish for Marks & Spencer Ireland in the future?

That we continue to do everything within our power to enhance the lives of our colleagues, customers and communities every day.


Business in the Community Ireland

M&S Mary Street Celebrating 40 years in Ireland

Sharon Kelly, HR Section Manager, M&S Mary Street and Recruitment


What does the school link mean to Marks and Spencer?

The company sees the link with Larkin College as an important part of its corporate responsibility in contributing to the local community. It is great to be able to offer practical support in an area that we can share our expertise and feel that we are contributing to the community we are part of. It is also seen as a good opportunity for employees to engage further with colleagues and develop themselves. Employees enjoy participating in “A Day in the Life” and the mock interviews. It is a great opportunity to share experience and knowledge. The company is celebrating 40 years in Ireland this year and is very proud of its well-established link with Larkin College.

Business in the Community Ireland M&S Mary Street team and Larkin Community College Students

What does the link mean to me as an individual?

I love this partnership. I really enjoy meeting the students. I get such satisfaction watching them grow in confidence from the first day we meet. I am constantly impressed with the Transition Year students and the schools TY programme. It energizes me every year and reminds me that there is a bigger picture in all that we do. These students are our future and it is important that we all do what we can to help them learn, and while what we do is only a very small part of their Transition Year activities, I always hope that it helps them in the future.

I was recently interviewing a young man for a sales advisor position in one of our other stores. His interview was not great and he was not successful. I really felt for him and couldn’t help feeling a certain pride that this would not happen to any of our Transition Year Larkin students. I asked him if he had done any previous interviews and he said no. He had not had the opportunity to do any mock interviews either. So I saw first-hand the advantage of mock interviews and how it really can make the difference between getting that job, or not as in this case.

Business in the Community IrelandPaul Daly, Store Manager of M&S Killarney, with teacher Kerri McCarthy and students of Killarney Community College singing Christmas carols. The partnership with M&S is 11 years old.

Business in the Community Ireland

Students from St Patrick’s College, Cork students at their site visit to M&S

Business in the Community Ireland

Students from Scoil Phobail Mhic Dara who are partnered with M&S Galway