1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The year was on the whole enjoyable, however there are certainly low points. Your experience definitely depends on the atmosphere of the store that you are working in and unfortunately the manager in my first store time did not set a good example of leadership.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Again, this depends on your store.
During the office time our project work felt valued, however the departments were not always prepared for us.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Aldi training seems to be 'sink or swim'. I met with my mentor infrequently and she was not somebody who I would turn to for support. There is an expectation that you drive your own training. Structured training is rarely followed and consists mostly of E-Learning tick box exercises.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Extremely busy. Often unrealistic goals were set.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
You are given a lot of responsibility during store time as you are acting manager. During office time you are given projects that can have a huge impact on the company performance.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The skills such as organisation, timeliness and appearance will assist with finishing my degree and for future jobs.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere in store was generally quite upbeat, however, while colleagues are friendly the office was lacking in atmosphere.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
There was a structured document given to us before the placement that outlined the year. This was not stuck to and my second store ended up changing as did some of the office timings. We also had to move from our respective store locations to the office in Essex part way through the placement. As we were not given any idea of whether we needed to be in the office or in stores for the first project this left us with no notice to find a house to move to, so bear this in mind if your store location is not within a commutable distance of the office.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Future employment options are very regionally inconsistent. I know of others in different regions who were given an outright job offer which seemed the norm, except for in the Chelmsford region.
Throughout the year we were given no indication as to whether we would be offered the grad scheme. During meetings with the directors it seemed like the bar for getting a place on the grad scheme was out of reach.
A meeting with the directors was scheduled for the Monday of the final week which was then moved to the following Friday, only for us to be told that we would be sent a letter in the post following . The letter arrived after two weeks with a reference and a letter telling us to reapply after gaining leadership experience.
All 3 of us received the same letter and reference, complete with typos. Collectively, this did not make us feel valued for time at Aldi. From speaking to colleagues in other regions were not of a lower calibre. In fact, many IPs in other regions told us that they left early during the office time (in particular when working with the Warehouse and Logistics departments). We always completed 50 hours a week and often stayed later than this and came to work earlier. Our projects always had our full attention despite being unrealistic (think 3 people driving to the 80+ stores over the whole of East Anglia and beyond and having only a week to complete it in).
Although Aldi did not give us an outright rejection the way that our departure from the company was handled does not make the company a very attractive employer.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Aldi do not encourage socializing with colleagues. There was a Christmas meal arranged for us with the Directors.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Very manageable given the salary and the limited hours you will have to socialise in the week. Socialising gets easier during office time as you have the weekends free. Chelmsford rent prices are quite high, however you can find places for around £350 - 400 a month.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
My store times were in small towns with no nightlife. Chelmsford has quite good nightlife.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
No because you have no set working hours for the first 8 months of your placement, meaning that you cannot commit to outside activities. There is also an expectation that you will stay longer than your 10 hours shift to 'drive your training'.