I’m Laura, a BA Business and Management student at the York Management School. For my year in industry I’m taking part in Aldi’s industrial placement scheme.
I discovered Aldi’s scheme at one of the University’s careers events. I was impressed with the structured training plan for the placement year. It provides the opportunity to learn about the retail industry in detail and to take on vast amounts of responsibility. Aldi comes third in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers and the fast-paced working environment appeals to me.
I attended many careers events organised by the Management School’s employability team. They prepared me for aspects of the interview process such as psychometric testing and criteria-based interviewing. The team also explained the likely structure of interviews and employer requirements. I was impressed with their enthusiasm and guidance.
Working at Aldi
I took on a large amount of responsibility from the very start of the placement. It has really developed my management skills, business knowledge and enthusiasm for the retail sector.
Every day presents a range of exciting challenges: leading and managing a team, inventory control, financial management, productivity and rota planning, ordering stock and monitoring performance. This is alongside giving customers top quality customer service and products. The number one objective is to help the store achieve a range of key performance indicators related to productivity, staff turnover and customer service.
The work is varied and exciting within a professional working environment, objectives are clear and there is excellent team morale. Working ten hours shifts can be tough at times but it has helped improve my time management skills and resilience. My colleagues are helpful, positive, team players and engaged in their work. I enjoy motivating others and providing constructive criticism where necessary in order to develop my team.
Opportunities for learning and development
To develop my effectiveness, Aldi provide detailed training programmes. I have plenty of access to Store Managers, Area Managers and Directors in order to improve my business skills and professionalism. I spend some weeks with my Area Manager Mentor, visiting her four stores for cash audits, interviews and target setting.
Interviewing prospective Aldi employees was eye-opening. For the first time in my life I was interviewing candidates instead of people interviewing me. I have realised that interviewing people is harder than it first appears. Identifying the right candidate for the job is not straightforward, but it is very rewarding when you get it right.
I receive regular feedback from my Store Manager and Area Manager alongside updates with the Store Operations Director. This is a crucial part of my personal learning and development which helps me to reflect on my professional performance.
Towards the end of the placement I will be based in the Regional Head Office. I’ll work with different departments such as Logistics, Financial Administration, Property and Trading. Me and the other four people will then work on a project based on ideas and challenges we have discovered whilst working in store. Our results will be incorporated into the Aldi business model.
Working at Aldi has developed my confidence, communication skills and decision-making ability. I have realised the importance of target setting to achieve a range of business objectives. My understanding of the retail sector has dramatically increased and Aldi have reinforced my desire to pursue a retail career.
Why I chose York
York is part of the Russell Group and is one of the UK’s top universities. The Business and Management course provides the knowledge I require and York is a beautiful city in which to live. As York is only 40 minutes away from my hometown, I have the opportunity to get home easily if I want to.
The University is campus-based with plenty of open air and space, which really appealed to me. It is just a short journey into the bustling city centre where there are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants. Personally I think this is the best of both worlds – there is peace and quiet for studying but also plenty of places to go for entertainment.
Within a short space of time, the University significantly developed my academic ability, and access to the Aldi Industrial Placement programme has dramatically improved my practical business skills. I didn’t realise how much the management theories and academic practices would come into play in the working world. It has been exciting to experience some of these practices in action.