No discount on professionalism: Why Aldi's has a graduate scheme is high demand

Most graduates dread the day when they find themselves wandering the budget supermarket aisles seeking out cheap fortified wine but for Francesca Haynes, 27, it's a dream come true.

Haynes' academic CV is an impressive one. From York originally, she has a BA in Asia Pacific studies with politics, an MA in Chinese and an MSc in management – but she still does her shopping at Aldi.

Haynes is an area manager on the Aldi graduate scheme, responsible for eight stores, which will be increasing to nine in February. She came across the scheme in her final year at university. "I was specifically interested in a management role," she says, "and Aldi stood out as it was combined with retail – an area I have worked in since I was 14."

The German supermarket, which was established in 1948 in the town of Essen, operates about 7,500 individual stores worldwide. The first Aldi store in the UK opened in Birmingham in 1990 and there are now more than 400 in the UK. Formerly suffering from a reputation as being cheap and cheesy, it was the butt of many "cut-price-wine" jokes. But the supermarket has achieved kudos in the UK by stealth and is now the shop of choice for budget-aware recessionistas. It won Grocer Of The Year and Discounter Of The Year at the 2009 Grocer Gold Awards, the Oscars of the retail sector and wiped out its competitors at the 2009 British Frozen Food Federation awards, with seven awards in five categories. The economic downturn has sent more and more pleasantly surprised customers scurrying its way and its reputation as an employer is beginning to outstrip its rivals.

Haynes loves the leadership and team integration that the Aldi scheme offers and turned down a different role with a leading global company. "Because Aldi has demonstrated such high levels of business success I knew it was the right place to develop a career with longevity," she says. One of the other things that attracts graduates to the Aldi scheme is the responsibility. "From your first day you really feel you're making a difference to the company," says Haynes.

Her day is never typical: she will usually visit some of the stores and catch up with the staff before going on a store walk with the managers to assess the quality of the products. There is the obligatory paperwork and overseeing group interviews. "Being involved in everything is very important to me, from talking to head office to recruiting our new staff," she says. "The people I work with are what makes my job so fulfilling, and I like to be involved in any additions we make to the team."

Aldi has increased its graduate intake for 2009-10 and is looking to recruit 130 graduates for its area manager training scheme. But it's no cakewalk, says Dan Ronald, regional managing director responsible for graduate recruitment. "Our expectations may be high but so is the level of job satisfaction."

Aldi is looking for graduates with an upper second class degree and with the energy, drive and enthusiasm to seize high levels of responsibility from day one. "They need to make an impact immediately," says Ronald.

The successful Aldi area manager is someone with influential personal qualities that allow them to bring the best out of their teams and motivate others to increased success, he adds.

In 2009 the Aldi scheme had more than 200 applicants per place and it is not hard to see why. The scheme offers a starting salary of £40,000, rising in increments to £60,000 after three years, together with an Audi A4 company car, a pension, life assurance, health cover and 25 days' holiday."

In addition, says Ronald, within a year of joining, a successful candidate should be managing a group of stores and be responsible for the financial decision-making, retail planning and people leadership.

Aldi now recruits all its senior management through its graduate scheme simply, says Ronald, because the business philosophy is to have the highest-calibre individuals and reward them above the market rate. In a market where any graduate job's a bonus, that isn't half bad.

The Aldi appeal

Starting salary: £40,000 (rising to £60,000 after three years)

Company car

Pension

Private healthcare

Life assurance

Twenty-five days' holiday

www.aldirecruitment.co.uk

Sport
Premier League Live
footballLIVE Follow all the Premier League action as it happens
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
peopleTV star had been reported missing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, Finance, MSc, PhD)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, F...

Year 3 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Teacher Required We are curr...

Year 5 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 5 Primary Teaching positionRands...

Junior Analyst - Graduate - 6 Month fixed term contract

£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone