We talk to Cian O’Connor and Donal Wrynn about what makes them tick in an out of the workplace as they undergo Aldi’s graduate management training programme.
“You’ve got to have your head in the game”
Cian O’Connor, Area Manager in training
My decision to return to college to pursue an MSc in Management and Marketing required a huge leap of faith. Initially I was anxious about leaving my job and the financial strains that this would involve, but my risk was rewarded in the long run when I was accepted onto Aldi’s Industrial Placement programme. Taking part in this while finishing my studies, I completed a 24-week programme that led to my current role as a Graduate Area Manager in training.
During the industrial placement, I completed three months working within the logistics department at Aldi’s Regional Distribution Centre in Mitchelstown. My experience of working within a distribution centre formed a crucial backbone to my understanding of Aldi as a business, helping me to manage my expectations of what the graduate programme would entail. Saying that though, nothing could prepare me for those 5am starts at the beginning!
Being a Kerryman, Gaelic football in is my blood. Playing on the senior team for my local club is quite time consuming but the structure of my training programme with Aldi allows me to plan ahead and avoid any clashes. There’s a perception that those doing the Aldi graduate programme have no life, which I firmly believe is untrue. Yes, you could waste your days off doing nothing, but if you make the most out of your free time, you can have a well-balanced and fulfilled life. Even on my days off, I go to the gym, catch up with my friends and go to the beaches and woodlands near my house – when the weather allows it!
If I was to give a piece of advice to someone looking to start their career, it would be to continually develop themselves. Take every opportunity to learn and that doesn’t always mean obtaining qualifications or degrees. It may be as simple as reading a book about your relevant area or making connections within your industry. You never know where new information might be useful and the more strings to your bow that you have, the better.
My proudest moment to date is definitely being accepted onto the Aldi Graduate Area Manager Programme. Looking ahead, I am incredibly excited to see what the future at Aldi holds.
“Working hard on and off the pitch”
Donal Wrynn, Area Manager in training
With Aldi you’re constantly on the go, so you become excellent at time management. I play for the Leitrim County panel in Gaelic football, which is a major time commitment, especially considering that I am based in Galway for work. I go home twice a week to train with the team and I’m grateful that my role with Aldi give me the flexibility for me to do this. It also helps me stay in my parents’ good books as I can help out on the farm while I’m home. It’s a win-win for me, my folks and the local team.
As part of the graduate programme, the experience of my store training gave me a real understanding of the day-to-day work that goes on in a store. Getting to see the processes behind stock selection and presentation, customer service and working as part of the store team has allowed me to better manage and support my store teams, and it has given me an even deeper respect for the people who work here.
I’ve found Aldi to be an incredibly social place to work, with plenty of good spirit amongst the teams I’ve been a part of. There is no real ‘perfect graduate’ for Aldi. What’s much more important than the course you took is your ability to learn, work with other people and display the confidence needed to lead a team. If you think that sounds like you, then the Area Manager Graduate Programme just might be the right step.