Involved taking on many different job descriptions - acting the role of Store Assistant up to Store Manager and Area Manager.
It was an incredibly tough year but was filled with so much learning and new experiences. From running an Aldi store to working in the warehouse to acting the role of Area Manager for 3 or 4 stores all created an invaluable experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. I can't imagine any other placement will offer the same level of responsibility or experience.
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All of the staff in Head Office are very friendly and willing to help whenever you need them. The fact you have regular updates with one of the Store Operations Directors makes you feel a big part of the company and makes you feel valued. During my time in store I felt valued by all of my colleagues and I always looked forward to coming to work.
Aldi is tough. You are very quickly thrown in the deep end and have huge responsibilities on your head but this enables you to learn as much as possible in as little time as possible. Support was readily available throughout the year with my Area Manager only a phone call away and of course the other placement students who are all experiencing the same difficulties. My Store Manager was fantastic and I really valued learning from her.
Incredibly! Store time is very full on and at the beginning I found it very difficult to control a work-life balance, I felt like all I did was work. But I learnt to prioritise and to delegate better - you won't have time to do everything yourself! It is important to plan activities for your days off to gain that 'work-life balance.' Head Office time is a little less full on and you get weekends off too!
Loads! Within a few weeks after beginning my store training, having only seen 3 closes before, I was left to run my own close being the only manager in that evening. From then on the level of responsibility I was given just grew and grew to the point where my Store Manager took some time off and I was responsible for running the store for 10 days!
The skills I have developed / training I have received this year has been second to none. I have gained invaluable experience and knowledge for a future career. I have experienced all sides (from Logistics to Finance to Trading to Store Operations) of an incredibly well-run business. The skills I have developed will have little impact in assisting me with the completion of my degree. Having said that my time management and organisation has increased ten-fold and during my time working in the transport department I developed an interest in Supply Chain and the effective management of warehouse space and planning delivery routes - this subject is now the basis for my final year dissertation.
Head Office has a very friendly atmosphere - quite chatty and relaxed, birthdays and key events are always well celebrated by staff and there are often tasters of new food lines for everyone to try. It is very professional at the same time however. There is certain office etiquette that took some time getting used to e.g. always shaking hands with Area Managers / Directors, not hanging your blazer on the back of your chair etc. but it all becomes second nature after a while.
Throughout the year there was an accessible 'Industrial Placement schedule' which was always up to date and displayed the structure of the year so it was easy for me to see where I was meant to be next. However not every department was given this schedule so when it came to our time in Head Office it was a little less organised.
The training was first class, I had lots of one to one training with very experienced staff and there was always someone to contact when you had a query. Aldi stress the need for quality training and there is a heavy focus on teamwork in all areas of the business and so someone was always willing to teach me new things and develop what I already knew. I felt like my training was prioritised by my Store Manager and this meant I was able to take on lots of responsibility and really get the most of my 6 months in store. Regular Area Manager Co-op with my mentor meant I learnt so much about the Area Manager role and how to deal with a diverse range of situations.
Very appealing. You learn to really care about the company over the course of the year and you feel like their success is your success. The Area Manager role offers a lot of freedom, once you have your own area, you can put all of the skills you have developed into practice and mould your own style of Area Management. It is a greatly rewarding job with high satisfaction rates - there is a huge sense of achievement when you / your stores are performing well. Not too mention a very competitive salary.
I didn't see much of the other placement students until the latter part of the year when we were in Head Office but we have since become good friends and reliable colleagues.
I stayed in Sheffield where I am at University and the cost of living and socialising is very low! Aldi have stores all around the UK with 9 regional offices so it is likely that you would be able to live wherever suits you.
Sheffield has fantastic night life.
We socialised as a group of placement students but other than that no.