The Retail Placement Programme offers students 360-degree view of business operations in the region and head office. There is the chance to get an insight into sales - through time spent in a store - logistics - through time spent in a Warehouse/RDC - and administration.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I have enjoyed elements of my placement year, including the employees and people I have met throughout the programme. At every stage, the employees I have worked with have been welcoming and friendly. However, overall my placement year did not meet the expectations I had going in. At times I have felt very much like an afterthought within the business often at the expense of my training and development.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
My value to the company and by my colleagues varied depending on the department I was working in. During my 3 months spent in the admin department, I felt valued by my colleagues. I had a useful place in the team and made good friends. However, during the 3 months I spent working in the Warehouse at the Regional Distribution Centre I felt undervalued as an employee and a Placement student, often given very basic jobs lacking in the professional development I would expect from the retail Placement Programme.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
From my experience in my region, the support and guidance were minimal. When in the Warehouse I was often dropped on different managers on a weekly basis as an afterthought. There was a lack of consistent structure for my training, it was often left up to me to ask higher management for more training and progression.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Lidl as a company is very fast-paced and as a result, everyone is busy on a daily basis. Whilst in a store I was very busy - especially in the build-up to the Christmas/New Year period. This was similarly the case when I was in admin as I had been given responsibility in the recruitment department. However, my time spent in the Warehouse was a total mix, I spent most of my time being a Warehouse Operative, as a result, I was busy with picking and packing deliveries for stores however this was at the expense of my training and development.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Overall I had minimal responsibility during the placement programme. Whilst in a store my daily tasks would include working pallet stock, cleaning, and operating tills. It was only at the end of my 4 months in a store that I began to gain true management responsibility such as ordering stock. My time spent in admin was perhaps the one time when I was given true responsibility and felt valued by the company. However, this responsibility was largely due to me due to staff shortages at the time.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
My placement year has helped to develop my professional confidence in regards to future career and employment. I have developed a much greater understanding of what I will look for in a future employer, specifically aspects of businesses that I like/dislike. I have developed my skills in organisation, communication, and timekeeping which will be of benefit to me during my studies.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
On a daily basis everyone in Lidl, from my experience, was friendly, welcoming and interesting and this created an enjoyable atmosphere.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
This was the first year placement students have been taken on in my region and based on my experience and hindsight this was perhaps too early. As a result, communication between the placement students and those responsible for training and development, in my region, could be scarce as they would often be very busy attending to other business needs.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Lidl definitely invested in the placement students. For 2 weeks of the year, we were based in Head Office with hotels/meals etc provided for. In addition, there were a variety of seminars on various topics throughout the year both regionally and nationally.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
As a result of Lidl's business model - fast and efficient - jobs with the company can be very scarce and often highly competitive.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
As a result of placement students being based across the UK, it was difficult for us to develop a social scene. The few times during the year when we did meet all the other students were friendly, welcoming and interesting to chat with.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I was very lucky in this regard as I could live at home during the placement year. My only major expense was petrol to get to and from a store/RDC. I would generally travel 60+ miles to and from work per day.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I cannot speak for this as I lived outside the region and generally did not engage with the nightlife.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
This varied depending on the department. Whilst I was in admin there were a variety of activities outside of work to get involved with. However, during my time spent in a store and the Warehouse activities were limited and often within working hours.