Throughout my year I experienced tough conversations, moments of self-doubt & uncertainty in decision making; however, as I look back, it has been the greatest opportunity to develop and learn I could've asked for. The immediate and sustained responsibility - and the various new challenges that come with it - forced me to deliver my best performance, and when I still fell short, it became a huge opportunity to learn how to get it right next time. Aldi is supportive of those who make mistakes while attempting to achieve their best result, and henceforth, is a fantastic place to learn what you are capable of and how to push beyond that.
I felt valued and appreciated by colleagues in every section of the placement. During my time in store, I built strong relationships with the teams & Area Managers. Leaving store was one of the toughest parts of the year as you spend months forming positive relationships and you grow to really care about the people you work with.
Although the office environment in Aldi can be intimidating at first, the people are some of the most courteous and caring you will meet. At no point have they been unable to help me when I needed guidance, help finding something, or a push in the right direction on one of my projects.
My relationship with the other Industrial Placement Students is without doubt one of the best things to come out of this year. The unique position you hold within the business, combined with shared experience in stores and the time spent working together on projects, means that you have a lot to bond over & a lot of stories to share. Throughout the year, all of the other IPs have become great friends of mine & I have thoroughly enjoyed working with each of them.
The placement follows a structured training plan - at least for the most part. There were variations to this plan, but I always knew more-or-less where I was meant to be and what I was meant to be doing. The direction and support from my Area Manager mentor was superb - I felt confident that I was always looked after while being given the responsibility to do things without direct support.
How busy I was really depends on the phase of the placement. In store, I was busy every shift - the culture in store is that there is always something to and the aim was to be as productive as possible. During head office time, however, the pace was a little bit slower but the workload increased and the thought and planning required did so significantly. This meant that some days were very long and intense, while others were slower as you waited on replies and actions from others.
The greatest part of the Aldi Industrial Placement is the responsibility you are given from the start. Within two weeks of store time, I began my Deputy Store Manager training and was responsible for running the safe in store. This was a huge challenge at the time, but the Store Manager was more than capable of teaching me how to do everything I needed to do.
During my placement I also covered a store acting as Store Manger for a period, and had the opportunity to complete several week-long Area Manager covers throughout my placement. This involved running an area of 4 stores and assuming responsibility for KPIs and anything else relating to those stores throughout that week!
Massively! One of the biggest lessons I've learnt this year is to simply get to the point. It's crucial to be concise and only include information that is relevant. Thinking about the bigger purpose of whatever you're doing can really help with this.
The ability to use Microsoft programs, particularly Excel, has proved to be infinitely useful this year. Excel is without doubt one of the most powerful programs you can use for the processing, organising, and analysing of data. It really surprised me how useful a good knowledge and understanding of Excel is in real-world business.
Finally, presentations. Throughout the year, we had to complete projects and present our findings to various managers, including the Director team and the Managing Director. This experience was incredibly useful as it was an opportunity to prepare, practice and deliver presentations in an environment where our audience was engaged and had the ability to act on our findings. The questions and feedback we received allowed us to develop our presentation techniques - something that will certainly be useful upon returning to University.
The atmosphere in Aldi can be intimidating at first - it feels very formal and sometimes too much so. It does, however, become more comfortable as time goes on and it begins to feel normal. It is important to be aware of how you are perceived while in Head Office; you have to be professional but be capable of building relationships with all staff at the same time.
The placement scheme has a very specific structure for the training you should be doing at every point from joining to leaving. The training plan for store time is comprehensive and details all tasks you are expected to be able to complete, as well as when you will be assessed on each. The Head Office training plan is a little more relaxed as the bulk of your time is spent completing project work. You are very much in charge of your own time during this phase of the placement, so your organisation becomes your responsibility.
It is clear that Aldi want to see you succeed and therefore invest heavily in your development. Not only are there events throughout the year specifically for Placement students to attend, but to be given the opportunity to manage stores at such a young age with such a relatively small amount of experience shows how much responsibility Aldi are prepared to give you to help you succeed.
As well as receiving regular performance updates with your respective Director throughout the year, there is a culture of constant feedback in store and from most Area Managers. Personal development is valued highly in Aldi, and there are more than enough training materials and supportive people to help everyone develop.
Very. This year has been a great insight into life at Aldi, and we've seen small amounts of the Area Manager role through coop weeks. A good portion of the General Management Industrial Placement training scheme is focused on the Area Manager role & what they aim to achieve in their stores.
I lived at home throughout the placement so this was not an issue.
This largely depends on where you live as Aldi aim to put you in stores close to where you're based throughout the placement. During Head Office, there are town centres nearby, however, the workload usually means that you wont be out of the office until 18:00 / 18:30 so there are limited opportunities to take advantage.
During store time, there are Christmas events that you may be invited to attend. I also had a leaving do in both of the stores I trained in. The opportunities in Head Office are more limited, however, as a group of IPs we organised and completed a 10km obstacle course for Teenage Cancer Trust.