We talk to Rachel O’Connor and Abigail Cronin about why mixing a rewarding and demanding job with your other passions in life is part and parcel of what makes life tick for Aldi’s Area Managers.
“She shoots, she scores!”
Rachael O’Connor, Area Manager
There hasn’t been a dull moment since I joined Aldi as part of the Aldi Graduate Area Manager programme. No two days are the same and the requirements of the role are incredibly varied.
The ability to communicate clearly and work well with different people has been essential in every situation I’ve encountered. You’re dealing with people every day, whether that’s your store managers, store staff or customers, so you need to be approachable and confident. I find meeting such a mix of people every day to be fascinating. There’s a real sense of satisfaction in knowing that your management can influence so many different parts of the business.
Aldi really support you having a personal life and one of the benefits of its training programme is that there is a lot of freedom around the days you work. Basketball is a huge part of my life and I’ve played with my local club since I was five years old. I feel quite lucky to be able to keep it up, because unlike so many of my other friends after college – I was able to find a well-paying job in my hometown. It’s really important to me that the flexibility of my working week allows me to work my training and matches around my time off.
Something that I was surprised by when I started working was the time I have to go travelling. I caught the travel-bug while I was in college doing an Erasmus year in Germany. Since then I have visited Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico, Cuba and the Amalfi Coast. I find the secret is being organised with your work schedule and not leaving flights until the last minute when prices skyrocket!
One piece of advice I would give graduates who are exploring their career prospects is to give yourself plenty of time to research the different options available. Don’t let others influence you and be confident in your own decisions, because you’ll be most successful in a career that you are really interested in. Starting out you should have a fire in your belly, so it’s important to choose a career that excites you.
If you’re a hard-working person who is not afraid to leave their comfort zone and try new things, then Aldi is for you.
“Not afraid of heavy lifting”
Abigail Cronin, Area Manager
Knowing how competitive the Aldi Graduate Area Manager programme, is, I was absolutely thrilled when I received the call to be accepted onto the programme. My training has been very comprehensive, with both on-the-ground retail experience in stores, and formal seminars at our regional head office.
I’ve learned so much in such a short space of time about all facets of the business, from operations to property and logistics to trading. It has made me a better Area Manager as a result for both me and to my store teams
Currently, I am back in Cork managing stores in east Cork. One of my favourite things about working with Aldi is getting to interact with people; both the customers and the store teams on a daily basis.
Now that I’ve settled into my role, it’s become easier to manage my spare time again and keep up with hobbies. Powerlifting is a huge passion for me, having competed in the IPF World Championships in Belarus in 2017 and I also founded the UCC Powerlifting Club. While I no longer compete, I still hold the National Bench Record that I set in Belarus which is something I’m very proud of.
The Aldi Graduate Programme, for me, proves that you can do anything once you have the determination and put in the hard work. In a past life I was working in marine and coastal research, travelling from Germany to South Africa on the world’s largest ice breaker, the RV Polarstern. Aldi is a whole world away from that, but I’m really looking forward to the journey ahead.