You were studying business at Durham University when you found out about the Aldi Graduate Area Manager Programme during a careers event – what made you want to join the scheme?
As soon as I started speaking to the Aldi representative, I knew that this was the career for me. Of course, everyone is excited about the amazing benefits associated with the Area Manger role, such as a BMW 3 series and £44,000 starting salary, but for me it was the responsibility and realistic progression opportunities that enticed me. I studied business and management at university and knew that this was the only area that really sparked my interest – so the Aldi Graduate Area Manager Programme suited me perfectly.
What did the training involve on the programme, how long was it and what position did you gain at the end?
Joining the Graduate Area Manager Programme involved intense training, which included working on the shop floor, to understand the workings of the store, as well as shadowing an experienced Area Manager, which gave me unparalleled exposure to every aspect of the Aldi business. After 12months of training I was given responsibility of four of my own stores and tasked with working closely with the Store Managers to ensure each store had everything it needed, from the correct stock to staffing requirements. My role also reports back to a Store Operations Director in the North East to share the stores’ results.
What does your job as area manager involve in brief?
I manage the effective and efficient operation of four stores, supporting the team and reporting results to my Regional Director. I am also a Direct Leader to the Store Managers I work with and Personnel Leader to the 90 Aldi colleagues working within the stores. This means that I manage the recruitment requirements for each store and support the team with their personal career development – assessing everyone to ensure they have the opportunity to move up the ladder at the right time. I’m also responsible for their wellbeing and I have regular meetings with the Store Management team, as well as the wider store teams. This ensures that all colleagues are happy within the work environment and feel supported, and that their positions are continually reviewed, with new opportunities to learn, develop and progress offered as necessary.
What is the best part of the job and were there any challenges?
I really enjoy working with people, helping them to progress as well as supporting them on a personal level. I like to get to know my teams so that I can identify when someone needs help, whether that’s at work or if they’re going through something at home. I support my team in reaching their goals and moving up the ladder too – in fact my favourite part of the job is when I get to promote someone. The main challenge I face with being an Area Manager is that it comes with a lot of responsibility; by week 15 I had the keys to my own store, so you have to really hit the ground running.
You have just been promoted to Store Operations Director after five years – what will this role involve?
I’ve now been promoted and start my new position as a Store Operations Director in April. This is a huge achievement for me and will involve managing the implementation of further initiatives to ensure the smooth running of the stores in my region. I will be in charge of 30 stores and their teams, instead of four, developing regional strategies for them which align with Aldi’s overall business strategy. I’m looking forward to learning more about the regional finances and taking on more responsibilities. I also can’t wait to use the key skills that I’ve learned in my previous role to coach the Area Managers and ensure they’re optimising the performance of each store. I plan to use my experience to deliver the best results for our customers and colleagues.