We’ve had lots of incredible success with our Area Manager Programme. In fact, we’re No.5 in the Times Top 100 ‘Best Graduate Employers’, and many of our Directors (even our CEO) started out as Area Managers. To top it off, it’s not only for recent graduates. It’s also an amazing opportunity to change your career. You can certainly expect hard work, but you’ll also experience all of the support, development and training to succeed. Once you get the keys to your own area, it will feel like you’re running your own £multi-million business. Amazing.
When I saw how structured the Area Manager programme was, it gave me a real focus. I know it’s Aldi’s advertising strapline, but every day really has been amazing. I don’t know of any other graduate programme where you’re responsible for millions of pounds within 18 months or less. You’re shown the task, told how to do it and then you have to complete it to a really high standard. It’s quite defining how you react to that; how you summon up the confidence and self-belief to achieve great things. You need to be a strong leader but also learn from the support of the bigger family: your mentor, your team, your Store Operations Director. Everyone’s working hard to help you achieve your best.
There’s always something different going on at Aldi. Even now, three and half years into my role, I have to deal with things I’ve never come across before. I’m still developing all of the time. You do have to be resilient though, because things can go wrong. But that’s natural. It’s about what you learn from the experiences and how you move forward.
Having completed an Industrial Placement at Aldi it really helped me when I was successful in securing a place on the Area Manager Programme. It allowed me to have an even better overview of the whole business as well as a broader knowledge of the different levels of Aldi, and I built really valuable relationships. You realise quickly that everyone is there for each other, regardless of their position. There hasn’t been a single day where I’ve felt on my own. For example, during my first Christmas as an Area Manager, my Store Operations Director called and visited me a lot more than usual to make sure that I was succeeding. It was our busiest period of the year, so the support at that time was really crucial for me.
I love how diverse, challenging and exciting my role is as an Area Manager. But I also like having a real impact on the business. When I make a decision that improves my area, it has the chance to go across the whole of the UK. In fact, Aldi always encourage you to bring your own ideas to the table. My advice to anyone looking to do either an Industrial Placement Programme or the Area Manager Programme is just be yourself. I know it sounds cliché. But it’s so important. Everyone is different at Aldi, and that’s why it works. So make sure your personality shines through.
As an Army Officer, I used to manage teams of around 30 people all over the world, from Afghanistan to Kenya. It’s a different context of course, but both the Army and Aldi require similar skills. You need to be a great leader, who can get the best out of your team, but there’s also the communication side of things. The ability to convey a message with confidence and conviction, and that transfers really well at Aldi. Also, in the Army, I learned how to get things done very quickly and accurately, so as you can imagine that’s invaluable in a fast-paced, retail environment.
When I left the Army, I wanted a leadership role that offered more autonomy. Aldi certainly offered that. I also loved the fact that I would be able to make a real impact on my own area of stores. All with a bit more stability than I had before. Plus, the training was amazing. It taught me how to be more agile in my leadership style. The company culture, the structure, the ambition, it’s all really appealing. I get to make pretty big calls that affect the direction of my stores, but the support is incredible. It’s because we all have the same drive to make things better.
I used to be a manager at quite a well-known retailer for about seven-and-a-half years. So applying for Aldi was a big step for me – I was actually quite apprehensive at first. But I’m so glad I did. Yes, it can be challenging, but the sense of achievement and reward you get from the business is fantastic. Plus, the training and support helps you take on any challenge. Aldi’s such an amazing place to be – particularly as an Area Manager. If you’re looking for responsibility and autonomy, you definitely get it here.
Having previously been a manager, I already had a lot of experience. But the structured training plan put me through so many different scenarios that really enhanced my leadership skills. The main thing that I learnt was how to tailor my approach. You work with so many people, all with different experiences, strengths and development needs. I now know how to get the right results from every one of my colleagues, in the best way possible.
Our journey has been incredibly interesting. So, before we explain where we’ll take you, let us tell you where we’ve come from. Discover how Aldi began and the Aldi mind set that’s got us here today.Visit our about us page