Industrial Placement Student
My experience at Aldi has been incredibly tough but the rewards and experience make every moment worthwhile. I have had the opportunity to learn about the company but also to learn about myself and what skill areas I need to improve on. Every aspect of the journey has been enjoyable whether working on the shop floor or presenting Director's with reports ad findings from in-depth analysis of different areas of the company.
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Each and every member of staff that I have worked alongside has made me feel welcome and valued and has helped me in any way I have asked in order to improve my skills, knowledge and experience. There have been occurrences where I have felt I haven't received the acknowledgement I deserve based on my position in the company which has been disheartening at times. This however has not dampened my experience and I hope I will have the opportunity to work with my colleagues again should I be invited onto the graduate programme.
As Aldi is an ever changing company my experience has included working alongside many other trainees. These trainees are graduate students on the graduate scheme and therefore have naturally received support and guidance by my mentor, perhaps before myself. However, if I had any worries or questions throughout my placement year my mentor was always there to offer the support and advice that I have needed. This has helped to boost my confidence and I do feel that that is down to the mentor for training me in the way I learn best whilst offering constructive feedback should it be required.
When applying for the Aldi Industrial Placement they regularly warned applicants that the year would be tough, challenging, but rewarding. When working in store we were required to be available 7 days a week, work for 5 days at a minimum and at least 48 hours a week although these often exceeded 60. On top of this shifts were extremely busy as you work on an Assistant Manager level meaning high levels of work and responsibility. At Head Office the hours remained the same but instead of being physically busy the days involved analysing data and producing important reports to Directors which could change the course of the business. Despite this the benefits (holidays, pay etc) and personal rewards (improved skill set, knowledge, opportunities) more than made up for the long days and if I had the choice I would do it all over again.
The amazing thing about Aldi is that they trust and believe in you before you even realise it yourself. After 4 weeks of store training and 8 weeks of management training I was given the opportunity to run my own shifts as a sole manager in the store. This could be an early morning shift (4am) late night (10:30pm) or an ordering shift throughout the typical working day hours. This level of responsibility was an incredible experience and something that I did not believe I was capable of before I started with the company. When at HO the projects that we presented involved ordering products, suggesting new business proposals and distributing items to stores. All of which adds up to a significant amount of money. Many placements do not entrust this amount of responsibility on students yet Aldi shows day on day that they trust you to do what is best for company
Without a doubt everything that I have learnt throughout my year at Aldi will and has already improved my work ethic, my employability and even my worldly knowledge. I believe that this year will set me up in a career path I choose to be in, hopefully with the company itself, if not, in another highly successful corporation. By taking these skills back to university with me I believe that I can achieve a higher grade and work much more efficiently than if I had taken a different placement. We were treated as valued members of the staff and the training and opportunities received reflected this.
Throughout my year with Aldi I have not had one day where I have not wanted to go into work. For me this is extremely important as when I cannot enjoy what I am doing it effects my drive and performance. Although the work that I carried out on a daily basis was serious and extremely important, potentially effecting the company's sales and revenue, the atmosphere was always bright. The Aldi philosophy is to look after their people and they do this by ensuring that we are treated well and enjoy what we are doing. Although each aspect of the placement year may not be for everyone (e.g. you may prefer being in store compared to working in accounts) I have been given the opportunity to discover which areas I strive in and areas I may not want to consider in my future career. The other great thing about working for Aldi is that the general office is open plan. All individuals from all departments sit together and converse about all areas of the business, making for a really welcoming environment.
On day one we were given a training plan giving us information about where we would be located, what we were expected to do, who our mentor was amongst other information needed to prepare for the year ahead. This included a document on how to dress and how to present yourself which is extremely important when working for an international company such as Aldi. Throughout the year my training plan rarely changed and these changes were miniscule. This is extremely impressive considering how quickly the company moves and grows. The only negative side to this is that my mentor changed two months before I completed the placement. However he was given the opportunity of a 2 year secondment to Australia, again showing the opportunities available within the company.
From day 1 Aldi showed their belief in me and what I could achieve whilst working for their company. From previous jobs this impressed me straight away as this is a rare occurrence wen working for a company you know little about and without having obtained a degree. In areas where I struggled I was always provided with additional guidance and support and when I did something well I was given positive feedback. The tasks that I have been set throughout the year and the solutions that I have produced have been fantastic opportunities and I feel Aldi have invested in my learning throughout the year 100%
During the contract signing with the MD he said to us all that this year was essentially a 1 year long job interview. He discussed how he encourages the idea of placement students returning to the company as part of the graduate scheme as they already have a flair for the business. Although this adds pressure to an already extremely tough year this motivated me even further with the prospect of being able to build a career with such an established and well sought after company.
Although the first 6 months were based in different stores around the region we put together a Whatsapp group to keep in contact and ask any questions about subjects we were unsure of. During our time at HO the 6 of us placement students have kept in contact and try to find times when we are free to go for a meal after work. Each lunch we will discuss what projects we are carrying out and how we are finding the year. It has been a great opportunity to work with students doing different degrees at different universities and to get to know one another and share this experience.
Lived at home
Lived at home
We all lived too far away from one another to meet up regularly and most of us lived at home