Celebrating five years of our partnership with M&S

The partnership is five years old this year. Learn more about its achievements during this time and about future plans.

M&S moved its entire archive collection of over 70,000 items to the Leeds campus in March 2012.  The move formed the basis for a broader collaborative partnership between the company and the University focused on three areas: 

  • employability opportunities for our students

  • joint research

  • engaging internal and external audiences with business culture and ethics

Watch this 2 min video for a summary of some of the partnership's key achievements and future plans.

Opportunities for students

Around 9,000 of our students have engaged with the partnership since 2012, including 169 who have taken advantage of work experience opportunities with the company and over 50 who have been supported by business mentors. 

There are embedded annual placements for students in law, graphic design and product design, and some of our students have had the pleasure of seeing their designs make it onto the M&S shelves. 

Others have benefited from the History on the High Street undergraduate module, which allows students to use the M&S Company Archive to learn how to use primary sources and conduct historical research. 

This aspect of the partnership has won it the Educate North Employer Engagement Award. 

Joint research

The partnership has supported research funding bids totalling over £7 million, covering collaborative research in areas such as: 

  • big data

  • the history of fashion

  • diversity, and

  • international franchises.

It has also supported two PhD students, researching consumer behaviour and social history.

Business culture and ethics

M&S shared its experience of innovation in our online course Innovation: The Key to Business Success, one of our most successful online courses yet, with 31,000 participants so far.  A further 50,000 people have taken part in three short courses on innovation which run once a month. 

Over 3,000 from the University and from the business community have attended seminars in the On Your Marks Networking Series, covering subjects as diverse as Plan A, Brand and Talent, and Big Data. 

What next?

The partnership is continuing to grow and develop.  To find out more about how we work together with M&S and about plans for the future, drop in to the M&S Company Archive any time between 10am and 12pm on Tuesday 28 March for refreshments, cake and a chat.

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