Marks & Spencer is to open the UK’s largest dedicated ecommerce warehouse early next year.
The 900,000 sq ft distribution centre in Castle Donington will employ more than 1,000 people, distributing clothing and home products direct to customers and to M&S stores across the UK.
The centre will work with Remploy Employment Service in order to employ people with disabilities and health conditions in roles from warehouse operatives to transport controllers, management and administrative staff.
Darrell Stein, IT and logistics director at Marks & Spencer, said: "Castle Donington is a key part of M&S’ strategy for the future. This new distribution centre will help us deliver our goal of being a leading multichannel retailer by 2015. It will also allow us to better serve our customers with improved product availability and extended delivery options. We’re delighted to be creating 1,000 new roles as part of this plan and we hope it will provide an economic boost for the East Midlands.”
The location has been chosen for its transport links, while the fully mechanized, carbon neutral, site will feature automated storage and retrieval systems as well as warehouse management systems that, says M&S, guarantee delivery accuracy.
“We want to support as many people with disabilities into the workplace as possible by taking our Marks & Start scheme to a new scale and a new part of the business," said Tanith Dodge, HR director at Marks & Spencer. "Around 10 million disabled people live in the UK and only 49 per cent are in employment compared to 78 per cent of non-disabled people. It doesn't have to be this way. Our experience tells us that people who face barriers to the workplace are committed, motivated and valued employees.”
Esther McVey, minister for the disabled, said: "Although the employment rate of disabled people has improved over the past few years, around half of all disabled people are still not in work and those that are often work far below their potential.
“That is why I’d urge other employers to follow the example of M&S and look hard at their recruitment and work practices to make sure they don’t miss out on the extensive talents of disabled people."