Caitlyn Dalziel, a deputy store manager at Aldi, joined the UK’s 5th largest supermarket through its apprenticeship programme and quickly rose through the ranks
When Caitlyn decided that higher education wasn’t for her, she set out in search of a different way of starting her career. When searching for jobs on the ‘My World of Work’ website, she was enticed by the Aldi store apprenticeship as it was the first job she’d come across which enabled her to gain real qualifications, while working towards a career and earning a fantastic salary.
She comments: “I was intrigued by the business management side of the apprenticeship. While I wanted to leave school, I was also keen to continue learning new skills and learning more about the successful running of a business. I then looked into the Aldi store apprentice programme further on the Aldi recruitment website and knew that this was the right path for me.”
Caitlyn impressed her store manager during her interview and was invited to experience what working in the store environment was like. She says: “I enjoyed this experience enormously and so accepting the job was an easy decision to make.”
Caitlyn began her Aldi journey by spending the first year learning the ropes as a store assistant, assisting in the successful running of the store, before completing her apprenticeship with two years of store management training.
Explaining how the three-year training programme helped kick-start her career, Caitlyn says: “I had just left school when I joined the company and was extremely shy. The training offered at Aldi helped me to overcome this by teaching me tips on delivering strong customer service, and providing me opportunities to practice and build up my confidence.”
“This is a huge plus of the store apprentice programme; the structure of the training was perfectly designed to support me in my personal development, as well as provide me with the skills to excel in my role. My store team were also extremely supportive and would regularly offer me advice to help overcome my shyness. This enabled me to assist customers and colleagues in a kind, helpful and professional manner.”
Caitlyn had a tutor from a local college who helped her complete all the written work required for her level 2 retailer assistant qualification in year one, and her level 3 retail management qualification in years two and three. The tutor also helped her complete her maths GCSE, which she was unable to achieve during her time at school. This was a fantastic personal achievement for Caitlyn, something she is very proud of, and something that may not have been possible had it not been for the support offered throughout the apprenticeship.
She adds: “As well as receiving help from my tutor, I would often stay behind after my shift to get help from my store manager and wider store team. Everyone really got behind me to help me succeed, I felt like I was doing it for them as well as for my own gain.”
Throughout her apprenticeship, Caitlyn would receive feedback to ensure that she was constantly improving and progressing within her role. As a result, she was promoted to deputy store manager upon completing the Aldi store apprenticeship and won the Bathgate region’s Apprentice of the Year—a fantastic accolade to honour her hard work and dedication. Now in her fourth year with the company, she is keen to continue on her journey and progress into an assistant manager role.
As a deputy store manager, Caitlyn enjoys the fact that no two days are the same: “Aldi stores are fast paced environments and no day is ever the same. As a deputy store manager I am responsible for supporting the store manager in the successful running of the store, which includes ordering stock, training employees and delivering sales targets.”
“I also help to implement new initiatives into the store and support in the training of new team members. One example of this is when I created a ‘Special Buys folder’ for a new colleague who had ADHD. She struggled to concentrate on what she was doing and so this folder helped her to stay focused on one task at a time, and prioritise the work she needs to complete each day.”
Caitlyn offers the following advice to anyone looking to apply for the Aldi store apprentice programme themselves: “Candidates should be hard working and ready to roll the sleeves up to any task. They should also be willing to put the work in and go above and beyond to support colleagues and customers alike.”
“I couldn’t speak more highly of the Aldi store apprenticeship programme, it has opened doors for me and taught me skills which I didn’t believe possible. It has also allowed me to learn more about the wider business, and progress within my career.”
“I’d therefore urge anyone who is in a similar situation to look into the opportunities available and apply—when you’re working, learning and earning, you won’t regret it!”
Applications are open year-round. Please visit the Aldi recruitment website for further information on the apprentice roles available and to apply: www.aldirecruitment.co.uk/apprentice