Supermarket chain Aldi is one of the fastest-growing companies in the UK, and is always on the lookout for talented, hard-working individuals who are keen to pursue a career within the retail industry.
Since opening its first British store in 1990, Aldi has grown dramatically. It now has 890 stores, from Camborne in Cornwall to Inverness in Scotland, employing more than 34,000 people.
It’s now the UK’s fifth largest supermarket chain and has big expansion plans… so it’s sure to need even more colleagues in the future. What’s more, Aldi has been placed in the top five in the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2020 for the 4th year running.
But what makes Aldi such a great employer – and what exactly is the MyAldi app which gives staff access to special deals and discounts? We quizzed transport section deputy Stuart Cooper, 61, based at its Chelmsford regional distribution centre…
When did you join Aldi, and what made you join?
I joined in 2014 after spending 30 years in the haulage business. I’d never been involved with a supermarket before and was keen to experience a different industry and take on a new challenge, so I got a job as a driver.
Was there a lot to learn?
Yes. I had to know where all the stores were. I delivered to stores throughout East Anglia and the southeast of England – a big patch. I also learnt about things like temperature control – some goods are perishable and need to be kept cool. My articulated lorry carried 33 pallets of goods that had to be delivered to the right store at the right time. Getting such a long vehicle in and out of car parks could also be tricky!
What roles have you performed since then?
Things moved very quickly for me at Aldi. Within a year I was asked if I’d be interested in training colleagues to be drivers. I jumped at the chance to learn new skills, and develop within my role.
And your current role?
As a fully-qualified instructor, I take people from the warehouse and teach them to drive articulated lorries. I also provide forklift driver instruction, and training sessions for company drivers to make sure they’re fully compliant with the latest road safety regulations. Moreover, I’m responsible for organising delivery routes. It’s a big job.
Are you well rewarded?
I work a five-day, 40-hour week and receive four weeks’ annual leave. The daily rate for transport deputies starts at £13.46 an hour and goes up to £14.48-£15.61.
Are there any perks to working for Aldi?
All colleagues have access to the MyAldi app (above), which allows you to get discounts on a variety of perks, including the bike-to-work scheme and gym membership. You can also get discounted travel and hotels for your holidays!
What’s a typical day like?
Busy! I juggle various tasks and run several training programmes, covering everything from the history of Aldi to safety. There is some classroom work and some practical on-job training. But training up colleagues is also a team effort. I rely on a group of “training buddies” – qualified drivers – to help apprentices and trainees gain the necessary experience behind the wheel before they’re ready to hit the road.
What do you like best about your job?
It’s great to be able to pass on my experience to get others started on a rewarding career as a driver. I’m changing people’s lives for the better, and that’s a really good feeling.
What are the career prospects like at Aldi?
Its apprenticeship programme is fantastic. Someone working in the warehouse would complete a one-year apprenticeship programme and carve out a career as a driver. I’ve come so far in Aldi, much further than I ever dreamt possible. I’m looking to move on to new roles in the years ahead too. I’m not done yet!
Does Aldi recruit older people?
Yes, and I’m evidence of that. I joined the company at 55, and I’m now 61. Older people have a lot of experience and Aldi appreciates that; it values its employees and their skill sets, whatever their age.
What skills do people need to succeed at Aldi?
To do the job well and prosper here you need to be a people person, a good communicator and someone who’s prepared to learn new skills.
Does the Aldi culture make a difference?
I’ve never worked for a company like Aldi. You’ll have to go a long way to find a firm that looks after its workforce as well as this.