Case study

Aldi apprentice — Iona McPherson

After completing an Aldi apprenticeship Iona is now a deputy store manager in Edinburgh. Learn more about her apprenticeship and what she got out of it

Why did you opt for an apprenticeship?

When I finished school, I knew further education wasn’t for me so I researched apprenticeships. I came across Aldi's Store Management Apprenticeship Programme on their website and thought it looked really interesting. There was lots of detail about what the three years would entail and the benefits of the programme, such as good career progression and learning while earning money at the same time.

What did your apprenticeship involve?

During my apprenticeship I worked with a company called Lifetime Training. Once a month my trainer Ewan would have an update meeting with me about the work I'd been doing each month. He then set me theory work that would be due for the next meeting, based on the units that I was studying at the time.

A typical day as an apprentice varied, but usually it consisted of working delivery, interacting with customers either on the till or shop floor and doing tasks in the office that were more admin related. Because I was an apprentice and wanted to progress, it was important I was shown all aspects of the store and how it ran on a day-to-day basis.

What did you enjoy about your apprenticeship?

I enjoyed all of my apprenticeship, however the one thing I loved was seeing my confidence grow. I did so many things I'd never done before and sometimes I had to throw myself in at the deep end and tackle challenges headfirst. In turn this led to a great confidence boost as I was doing things I never thought I'd be able to do.

What were the challenges?

The most challenging part of my apprenticeship was balancing my full-time job at Aldi while also having to complete my theory work on time and to a high standard every month. However, I also completed most of my apprenticeship during Covid, which was a very challenging time for everyone.

What three qualities are important for a career in retail?

  • prioritisation
  • being able to adapt
  • having the drive to work hard.

Describe your apprenticeship in three words.

  • confidence-boosting
  • challenging
  • rewarding.

What are your career ambitions?

The goal I'm working towards now is progressing to assistant store manager. I am currently focusing on developing the skills required to achieve this. I need to learn in order to get there.

What advice can you give to other aspiring apprentices?

My advice for anyone considering an apprenticeship would be to just go for it. I really believe that you get out what you put in so work hard, be positive and give it your all.

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