I thoroughly enjoyed my placement. There are of course lows and highs within the year, which is likely to be the most challenging to date, however on the whole the challenge and opportunity that is presented to you is very enjoyable and is exceptionally rewarding. This is particularly found in the amount of responsibility given from the off-set.
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Whilst at the beginning of the placement, you may feel our of your depth and feel as though you have little to contribute, this is soon dispelled. Soon into the placement, you realise that colleagues will value you as long as you put in the work and are seen to be doing your very best.
Due to the structured nature of the training you receive at Aldi, at each stage of your training, you will have someone to report to and responsible for your development at any given time. On top of this, at the beginning of the year, a mentor is assigned, who is the person who will train you and oversees that you are receiving the required level of training from other, such as Store Managers. These mentors are there to guide you throughout your time and are there to support you should you have any queries or concerns.
There is no question that at Aldi you will be kept busy. Whether in store time, or out with your mentor, there is always work to be done. At times it may feel like there is too much, but it is something that you become used to and becomes part of routine.
From the outset at Aldi you are given an enormous degree of responsibility, expected to carry tasks out to a very high standard. This ranges from project work, to carrying our daily tasks for your mentor, to running an entire store in the absence of a Store Manager. Although daunting at first, this gives you the best possible opportunity to develop and learn on the job.
The work ethic that you develop in a year in Aldi will most certainly stand you in good stead for the final year of University. It is the other skills however that will help you in University and beyond. such as leadership and the ability to work well in a challenging environment and communicate with colleagues to the highest level. These skills are the most valuable, although you will also gain more experience in tangible areas such as excel.
The atmosphere at head office is positive. Whilst it does seem quite reserved, and hard work and professionalism is expected from everyone at all times. Staff have good relationships with one another and there is a strong sense of teamwork and cooperation. Each team within head office is different and some have different approaches and attitudes in the working day.
Although there were some minor adjustments to the plan throughout the year, the plan with which you are issued at the beginning of the placement is broadly followed. This prior knowledge of where you will be and when and with whom is valuable when planning and setting goals. When you are in store, the structured training guide ensures that your time is well organised both personal and time with trainers. In each given head office department, project work is set out on arrival, meaning that you are able to set deadlines and organise your work.
Aldi invest a great deal of resources into your training. The salary aside, the hours of one on one training devoted to you is impressive. The idea of the year is to create future senior management within the company, and this is reflected in the amount of effort, resources and opportunities are given to you throughout your year.
Future prospects are both appealing and a real possibility. The graduate position is seen as a next step should you be right for the company, and just as importantly, the company be right for you. The year is geared toward giving you a deep insight into almost every aspect of the company, giving you a good picture of what it would be like if you returned. More often than not, at the end of the year, you will have a final review with a Managing Director who may offer you a graduate position.
Whilst all of my colleagues in my particular region socialised on occasion, the nature of the year and how busy you each are, particularly early on, results in less of a social life. This however is improved in head office time, when you are all working together and have the same days off, giving you this opportunity. Socialising with IPs from other regions is minimal, however there are two IP events at each end of the year to give an opportunity to socialise and share experience at an overnight stay in a hotel.
Where you are located depends on which stores your mentor is in charge of. These will be your stores and therefore it is advisable that you locate nearer to these than perhaps head office. Due to where my stores were located (in a city), the cost of living, from rent to socialising was high. This however was an option i took to live in close proximity to stores, rather than having a commute.
The night life where I lived and worked was good, as I lived in a city. This however would depend on where you are placed in stores, which makes up the majority of placement. To an extent therefore it is based on where you decide to locate yourself relative to where you are placed that determines how good the nightlife will be.
Aldi does not particularly provide activities outside of work and does not organise clubs or the like. It is however encouraged that you have a healthy work life balance and that you pursue activities and interests outside of the working environment. It would however be up to you, and perhaps other IPs to organise this if you wanted to do this with colleagues.