1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I thoroughly enjoyed my placement year with Aldi. The job role is advertised as one that is full of responsibility and one which you will develop massively. I can honestly say that this is a true reflection of my year, and I know that the skills that I have learned this year will be crucial to me when I return to University.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
When you join Aldi, even though you are enrolled as a placement student, you are viewed as an Area Manager. This can be daunting at first as the Area Manager role is a highly respected and a very challenging role, but this expectation helps you develop right from day one and brings with it the respect of the rest of the Area Manager team.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Support is a fundamental part of the placement programme at Aldi. I had a meeting with my Area Manager mentor every week to discuss my performance and any feedback for improvement. I then had an update with my director every 6-8 weeks to discuss this feedback in more detail. At no point did I ever feel like I lacked guidance and that was mostly due to the structure of my year.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Very! Aldi pride themselves on being one of the most efficient businesses worldwide, and this is reflected in the job role that I undertook. In my placement year, I spent 7 months in stores and 5 months undertaking projects in all aspects of the business. In both areas, I was set strict deadlines in order to complete work as quickly as possible, which meant that I always had something to do. However, this is what I loved most about the placement.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
In my first 10 weeks with Aldi, I was tasked with completing a project that was a business critical issue. This was then rolled out regionally. That should give you a sense of the responsibility given to me from such an early stage. I was also trained to run a busy store in Cardiff and was responsible for managing the team within it after only 4 months with the company. Aldi expect big things from you early on in your time with the business, but it is so beneficial for your development.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
As my degree is in History and Politics, only a small percentage of the knowledge based information I have learned this year will help further me in my degree. However, the development in my organisational, leadership and time management skills has been phenomenal and will be a great asset to me when I return to University.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Everyone in the office in Cardiff was extremely friendly and made us feel welcome from the start. I was only in the office in the second half of my placement as the first half was spent in stores. However, once I came to the office, I really enjoyed it. We spent the first week of our time in the office spending an hour with each person in each department learning about what their role was and a little bit about them. This helped create a really friendly environment and made me feel comfortable straight away.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Organisation is one of Aldi's many strengths, and the structure of my placement was no different. I had a pre-start meeting with my Area Manager mentor who gave me my training plan. This meant I knew every part of my year before I had even started it. My plan was very structured, with designated time in each store that I was training in, as well as allotted time for each project.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
My training was very intense and was very well structured towards me. I can honestly say that the number one goal for Aldi during my year was my personal development. I was given multiple projects that developed my presentational skills, leadership skills and teamwork skills.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I would love to work for Aldi in the future after the great placement year I have had, and I am delighted to say that I have been offered to return to the company after I graduate from University.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
I was on placement with 3 other placement students during the year and we all got on fantastically. Whilst we were all in different stores for the first part of the year, we caught up a lot more in the second half of the year. There were social events at Christmas and events organised between the Area Managers so there was plenty of opportunity to socialise.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Cardiff is a large city but due to the student population it was very reasonable. I lived with other students who went to Cardiff University so I wasn't living on my own for the year, but cost of living was very cheap.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Cardiff is a great city for nightlife. There is events on every night, particularly when the students are in the city for University.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Aldi focus very heavily on supporting their registered charity Teenage Cancer Trust and so are always putting on events to get involved in. I did the Cardiff Half Marathon in October, as well as Area Manager golf days and 5-a-saide football tournaments, all in aid of TCT. There were also social events fairly frequently which was great to be involved in.