Case study

Aldi apprentice — Lee Dryden

After completing an Aldi apprenticeship Lee now works as a project section leader in the retailer's head office. Learn more about his apprenticeship experience

Why did you decide on a career in retail?

I decided on a career in retail as it's an ever-expanding industry and I knew it would present regular career progression opportunities. An important aspect before applying for an apprenticeship for me was that I would have the potential to manage a large team of colleagues.

Why did you opt for an apprenticeship?

I wanted to continue with learning, while developing professional life skills within a workplace environment. Apprentices are the leaders of tomorrow, which was something I recognised before applying. I wanted to be mentored by industry leading managers, which is something an apprenticeship within Aldi offers you.

Tell us a bit more about the apprenticeship

I initially completed a Level 2 Logistics Career Starter Apprenticeship. This was a 13-month contract where I completed a rotation of each department within the warehouse, learning and developing skills that enabled me to be an effective warehouse operative. Following the completion of this apprenticeship and discussions with my manager, I was offered the chance to further my studies through additional apprenticeship programmes.

This involved studying the role of a section deputy within the warehouse, which taught me how to be an effective manager. I had regular contact with my leader to discuss progress and receive feedback. I also had contact with a training provider who taught me about the rules and regulations I needed to abide by to become a successful manager.

On top of this, I undertook masterclasses on topics such as emotional intelligence, developing high performance teams and the importance of self development.

On a day-to-day basis, I was exposed to managing staff for the first time. The aim of completing the team leader course is to become a section deputy on completion, but it is not something that is guaranteed and is always discussed on an individual basis based on your performance throughout the course.

What’s a typical working day like for you? 

I have held multiple roles within the business since completing my apprenticeship and have been promoted several times. Currently my day-to-day work life is situated at head office in the Midlands, managing projects and implementing them throughout the UK.

During my apprenticeship, my day-to-day role was to manage a shift. This involved the allocation of the team to specific areas, conducting a morning brief to inform colleagues on their job allocations, as well as investigating and rectifying issues that arose during the shift.

Describe your apprenticeship in three words.

  • motivating
  • challenging
  • satisfying.

What part of your apprenticeship did you enjoy the most?

Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed learning how to manage colleagues, how to think on your feet and use your initiative to find a way around a difficult situation. This is something that can be used not only in your day-to-day work life, but also your personal life.

What are three qualities that are important for a career in retail? 

  • non-siloed thinking
  • effective communication
  • the ability to adapt to different situations as they arise.

What are your career ambitions?

Following my apprenticeship, I was promoted to a section deputy and then received a further promotion to a section leader. Currently I'm employed as a project section leader within our head office, working on projects that will help shape the future of logistics within Aldi. I intend to continue striving to achieve and progress at Aldi.

What advice can you give to other aspiring apprentices?

I would say to approach an apprenticeship with an open mind. It true that you get out what you put in. Squeeze every single drop of advice out of your managers and take it all in, this will help you develop into a well-rounded individual and will assist you within your career ambitions.

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