Aldi: Ben Jones

Ben Jones was eager to enter the world of work after finishing high school, and so chose an apprenticeship with Aldi over higher education.

Ben believes that the skills and life experience gained have justified his decision, and is looking forward to furthering his career with Aldi.

After successfully completing his GSCEs, achieving C grades in core subjects including maths, English and science, Ben, like many of his classmates, went onto college to study A-levels. However, during a visit to his local Aldi store, a poster advertising the different apprentice programmes available caught his eye. Ben was enticed by Aldi’s competitive benefits, such as the £183 per week starting salary, and the qualifications to be gained while simultaneously working towards a reputable career.

He commented: “After completing my GCSEs, I felt that there was an expectation for me to go to college and study A-levels. However, I didn’t enjoy school and even at 16, I was very keen to start working, to learn real life skills, and ultimately start earning money. I am so glad that I discovered the Aldi stores apprenticeship, and think it was a fantastic way to launch my career in retail management.”

With multiple layers involved in the application process, Ben said: “I went through several stages of assessments and interviews. First completing an online application form before being invited to an interview. After successfully passing both of these stages, I attended a short in-store experience which highlighted what working in Aldi’s retail environment is really like. From then I was hooked and could really see myself working within this fast paced, people and customer focused environment.”

Store apprentices will receive a salary of £183 per week in year one, rising to £273 per week in year three, and can now enter the programme via two routes. The career starter is a new route introduced for March 2019, which no longer requires candidates to have completed previous qualifications. The aim of this new route is to allow apprentices to work towards a career, while developing skills in literacy and numeracy and completing a level 2 retailer qualification.

Alternatively, the management development programme requires a minimum grade 4 or equivalent in Maths and English, and offers candidates a pathway to becoming a deputy store manager. Apprentices who choose this programme will complete a level 2 retailer qualification in the first year of training, and then progress onto achieving a level 3 retail team leader qualification in years two and three.

Ben said the on-the-job training was his favourite thing about the programme: “I was lucky enough to have highly knowledgeable tutors during my apprenticeship who helped me excel with my theory work. My store manager and the rest of the store team were also very supportive when it came to teaching me the all-important store tasks, such as till operation, stock rotation and customer liaison.”

Having graduated as the Cardiff region’s Apprentice of the Year in 2017, Ben started a new role as a deputy store manager. He stated: “Receiving the Apprentice of the Year award was a fantastic way to celebrate the end of my apprenticeship, as it felt great to know that my hard work had paid off.”

“As a deputy store manager, I love taking the reins when the store manager is away, as I really feel that I am contributing to the running of operations. This includes monitoring sales and productivity targets, handling money at the end of each day, processing stock orders, and creating shift rotas for my colleagues.”

“I particularly enjoy interacting with customers and helping to manage the workforce. As a result of my hard work, I am already being supported by my team to progress further and hope to become an assistant store manager soon.”

Having passed the Aldi stores apprenticeship with flying colours, and serving as a deputy store manager for 12 months, Ben offers the following advice to those interested in applying for an Aldi apprenticeship: “During the application process, demonstrate your ability to learn new skills and multi-task.”

“The programme involves a busy three years, but it is also a lot of fun. If you can roll your sleeves up and get stuck in, then you will enjoy it and excel. Also, showcasing your knowledge of the industry will help you to stand out from the crowd. My business studies GCSE certainly helped me answer questions about business processes, as I was able to provide real life examples from previous research.”

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