I really enjoyed my year in industry, especially as the Lidl scheme allows you to rotate through all the different regional departments (Sales, Supply Chain, Logistics, and Human Resources). This is because it gives you a better understanding of the business model as a whole, and you can start to form an opinion on which route you would like to go down after you graduate. All of the managers were really friendly and helpful which enhanced the experience.
As you rotate through all of the different departments, you end up working with lots of different people across a range of roles. Everyone was really helpful, particularly in Sales as initially it can be quite full on and challenging- I could ask anybody on the team for help and they were more than happy to assist. The more senior members of staff were also really easy to talk to, and would offer feedback and positive encouragement frequently.
My Regional Training Consultant acted as a mentor throughout the year, which was really useful to have somebody to speak to whenever I encountered a challenge or needed advising. Throughout all of the departments I found all of the managers, and the Heads of Department to be very approachable, and would provide support when needed. They were also very useful when it came to talking about my future career plans, as most of them had experience across a range of roles within the company.
Due to Covid-19, my time in Sales was perhaps more challenging than usual! However, my work load was fair and it provided a challenge for me which pushed a lot of my personal and professional skills. If I was struggling at all, I could speak to a member of management to ask for help or to see how I could tackle the tasks more productively. The Lidl Placement is definitely more fast-paced than other schemes, which is definitely a positive as you will never be bored and you will learn things much quicker than you would elsewhere.
As I spent the weight of my placement in Sales, I was trained up to a good level of management, and eventually I was supervising the shifts on my own, acting as the only manager in the store at a given time. This was crucial for my professional development, and shows that the company really invest in your training, as they push for you to take on more managerial responsibilities as opposed to just observing.
A lot of the skills I learned will be applicable not only to my University degree, but also to my future career. As Lidl as a company is built around maximising efficiency and productivity, I've learnt to pick up new skills very quickly, and to always push myself to complete tasks in a short time-frame, without letting the quality of work slip. I've also developed some managerial skills, as working alongside a wider range of people has helped me to improve my communication style.
In Sales, it can be quite an intense environment as the teams are quite small and you work with everybody everyday. However, the atmosphere was really positive and I rarely saw any tension. Lidl is a really good company for encouraging teamwork and problem solving, which strengthens the bond between colleagues. The managers are also really approachable and friendly, which I definitely noted as having a very positive effect on the rest of the team.
Through no fault of the company, Covid-19 did disrupt my initial training plan. However, my mentor communicated regularly with me about what was going on, and what my next steps would be. The initial plan was made in advance however, and the interns meeting was very well organised, and the plans were very detailed. Before Covid-19, my Sales plan was so well detailed that I had a daily breakdown of what I should cover, and I always had monthly meetings to discuss my progress.
I was very happy with the amount of investment in my training. All of the managers I had in all the different departments had a detailed training plan written up before I rotated to them, and we had meetings to discuss expectations, and what I had achieved since the last meeting. As I would like to pursue Sales as my future career path, I wad given additional opportunities such as shadowing Area Managers, which I am very grateful for.
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
Lidl has a wide range of opportunities, ranging across the departments, across the different regions, or even at Head Office. I would love to come back for the Graduate Scheme, so I will be applying when the application opens for the Sales route, with a long term goal of becoming an Area Manager. Lidl is also a rapidly expanding company, meaning that there will be lots of store openings, and even new regions opening over the next few years or so.
At the beginning of the year, there was an internship meeting in Leatherhead for a couple of days where we got to meet everyone on the scheme across the country. We then had another meet-up in January to discuss what we had all been doing and what we were all expecting from the remainder of the course. Unfortunately due to Covid-19, the last meeting didn't happen. In my region there were two interns (me and one other), and we had the opportunity to work together a couple of times.
As my placement was in London, the rent was quite expensive but Lidl provide you with London weighting which was definitely a benefit to the scheme. Socialising could also be relatively expensive because of the price of trains/tubes, and the cost of eating out or going out in London. However, the salary for the scheme is very competitive and if you budget well it shouldn't be too much of an issue. It is also a good experience getting to live in London!
Seeing as my placement was in London, the nightlife is very good if you are prepared to spend a little bit extra on the transport (trains, tubes, taxis/Ubers etc.). If you aren't a big fan of clubbing, there are lots of pubs and bars to go to, as well as lots of nice restaurants and Brunch areas. The variety within the nightlife (clubbing) was definitely good- you can either go to the slightly more expensive clubs like Libertine, or you can go to places like Infernos, which is less fancy but equally as fu. As it is London, you can move between clubs quite easily and transport is always readily available.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
4th October 2020