1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
My placement year at ALDI was highly enjoyable - I was given a full introduction to all aspects of area management, from stock control to shop floor coordination. This was made even better by the fact that I was earning a deceng salary alongside my experience, which made me enjoy it without financial worries.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Very valued - this was shown in both the responsibility we were given and the amount of respect shown on a day-to-day basis among colleagues. There were plenty of people from the community working in the store and this helped to foster a sense of common purpose among all staff members.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
A lot of supervision - there was training on all aspects of my job both at the beginning and throughout. Because retail is very much a learning-by-doing industry, there was much more of a hands-off than a classroom based approach to learning. Nevertheless, we were also given some online learning tools.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Very busy - ALDI tend to operate efficiently with minimal slack. Therefore, there are generally few workers present at any given time. My job was to coordinate this efficiency but also to keep things operating as a safe level. This was compounded by the fact that I worked across mutliple stores.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
A lot of responsibility considering that I was only 20 at the time. There were times where I felt a bit overwhelmed on the job. Nevertheless, I always separated my job from my personal life and in retail this is an easy thing to do. I am grateful for having been given the opportunity to demonstrate my responsibility.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
A lot of skills in people management which will serve me well in future. This is because I had to deal with a range of stakeholders - from customers to colleagues, as well as supply chain managers. There was also a lot of training in patience and other people skills which will prove invaluable for me.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Great atsmosphere - unlike in many organisations, there was no office politics. This I think is because most people have the same attitude to working at ALDI - that is to provide good customer service. This sense of pride in getting things done helps to keep everyone on the same playing field.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Good organisation - ALDI's area management programme is quite well run since it has been going for many years now. As a year long placement student, I felt as though my application was screened in an efficient manner as they have predetermined values through which to assess candidates and full time employees.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
A lot of investment was made in me given that ALDI save a lot by employing people with experience. They invested in me as though I was going to return full time - and indeed I have. This is an efficient was of hiring people since retail is an industry with a fairly high turnover of staff.
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?
Very appealing - a lot of full time area management jobs are given to people who already have experience of working at ALDI. Thus I was able to return to ALDI quite quickly following university. They encourage a lot of internal promotion so it is possible for lowly ranked staff members to progress quickly.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Cheap and affordable
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Not so good
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?