I thoroughly enjoyed my placement year with Lidl. Over the 48 weeks I worked in several different departments including Sales, Supply Chain, HR Training, Sales Organisations and Transport. This gave me an overview of the entire business operation from start to finish which was really interesting. In each department I worked in, I had a really friendly and helpful team which helped to make the experience even more enjoyable. Besides the work aspect of the placement, I made lots of friends in the other placement students and we were able to stay in nice hotels and have meals with each other while we worked in Head Office as well as being given an end-of-placement event for us all to enjoy.
The extent that i felt valued by my colleagues depended on what department I was in. For instance, during my time in Store and Supply Chain I became an integral part of the operation and felt as though my contribution was valued and needed. At times I felt as though certain colleagues viewed me as 'work experience' but I just carried on doing my work to the best of my ability. The vast majority of the people I worked with were extremely thankful and appreciative of the work that I did and were grateful for the help.
In every department that I worked in, I received good training and coaching, particularly in Supply Chain. I undertook somone's position while they went on a secondment and therefore had to receive extensive training and regular guidance in order to carry out the role independently. Despite everyone having different coaching/training techniques, I always felt like I could ask for help and was encouraged to try new things and go with my decisions.
As I was in different departments every few months my level of busyness varied. For instance, in store I was kept busy because there aren't many staff members at any given time in store so there was always something I could do. In Supply Chain, I was always busy because I had so much to learn and do independently it took me a while. However, in Transport I was not kept busy because I was not trained in a lot of areas.
On this placement scheme, the placement students are trained up to a management level so I had a lot of responsibility in some departments. For example, in store I became a shift manager so I was responsible for holding the safe, dealing with complaints and problems and closing the shift. I also ran several shifts as the shift manager in store so I had a lot of responsibility. In Supply Chain, I was trained as the Promotions Administrator as the existing Administrator went on a secondment, therefore, I had to do all of their tasks after several weeks of training. Furthermore, there were only two people on the Promotions team and my Line Manager was often away in my last few weeks in Supply Chain which meant I was the only person to run the team and deal with everything in Promotions.
The skills that I developed will definitely help with my degree studies and in future jobs. I have learned lots about communication, commercial awareness, leadership and management and the importance of these skills. I have had responsibility given to me from early on, had to learn how to adapt to new situations and environments and also gained a lot of confidence throughout the year.
The general atmosphere in my place of work was different in each department. For instance, in store there was a very fun and light-hearted atmosphere as the colleagues were all friends which made a really nice working environment for me. This was also the same in Supply Chain, however most of the RDC based departments were a little less light-hearted as they were under a lot of pressure.
I was very impressed with the organisation of the placement scheme. Throughout the year I had specific training plans from each department, projects, pre-planned work for me to do and also had travel and accommodation organised for me for any occasion where I had to work away with Lidl. The Placement scheme itself was very structured as it had the departments that I would work in already set out for me.
I was happy with the time and money that was invested in my personal development from Lidl because as well as training for particular jobs, I also was able to attend seminars and workshops such as time management, presentation skills and Communication. Also, throughout the placement process I had regular conversations about my progress and was given feedback so that I could improve. Furthermore, in each department that I worked in, I was given a personalised training plan.
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
The employment prospects with Lidl are appealing as they invest a lot of time in your training and personal development and there is a lot of internal recruitment and promotions within the company. I would personally consider following onto the Graduate Scheme rather than look for a direct entry job because I am unsure what area of business I would like to work in.
The cost of living in Exeter was fairly cheap compared to living in larger cities, however I did not mind paying a little extra for rent when I moved out as it was conveniently close to my place of work and on a local route. The cost of socialising was also fairly cheap as is most things in the South West, however I lived very far away from the city centre so did not socialise very much in Exeter.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Administration/Secretarial, Business Management, Customer Service, Human Resources, Logistics and Operations, Recruitment, Retail, Sales
12th July 2019