Opportunities to feed your mind at Lidl
The supermarket chain offers an exciting range of training programmes for students and graduates
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton and Deirdre Ryan, head of corporate social responsibility at Lidl. Photograph: Conor McCabe Photography
Since entering the Irish market in 2000, supermarket chain Lidl Ireland’s network has grown to 162 stores, employing more than 4,450 people throughout the Republic of Ireland.
Its growth is ongoing, including 100 new jobs at its regional distribution centre in Newbridge, Co Kildare.
Part of its appeal for prospective employees is its investment in training. Lidl provides a range of development programmes for college students, through the new internship programme, and college graduates through a City & Guilds-accredited graduate programme. Lidl also offers a Feed Your Mind management degree programme aimed at retail and operations professionals.
It offers a full catalogue of skills-building training courses to support their future progression within the company. Staff can request from a range of training on topics such as resilience, negotiation, communication or project management, to name just a few.
Lidl internships provide a bespoke and structured training plan for the duration of the placement, which can be 12 to 52 weeks depending on college course requirements. Each includes getting involved in real-life business projects with support from a line manager plus regular meetings with a learning and development business partner. Paid interns receive €24,133 per annum on a pro rata basis.
Those on its graduate programme get to “hit the ground running” by gaining an understanding of how the supermarket business works at every level, spending time in stores, warehouses and at head office. Graduates get one-to-one coaching, competency assessment days and a structured mentorship programme.
Lidl’s graduate programme has been accredited by City & Guilds, which is recognised as a mark of the highest quality for a training and development programme. This ensures graduates receive training that meets industry best-practice standards.
Feed Your Mind is Lidl’s management degree programme, run in conjunction with Ulster University and Irish Times Training. It’s a new two-year level 7 foundation degree in management practice with specialism in retail, aimed at retail and operations professionals, which uses a blended approach to study that enables candidates to “earn as you learn”.
It starts with an intensive three-month operational training programme where participants learn the business. Once that has been completed, candidates are enrolled on the degree programme, attending six one-week classroom-based sessions over two years. In between, students work one day a week in a store or warehouse, and spend one day a week studying online.
A place on Lidl’s graduate programme provided sales graduate Lee Jordan with hands-on experience of running a major project.
“The level of responsibility graduates are given while on the Lidl programme is extensive,” says Jordan. “It allowed me to work on projects that have an impact across our 201 stores across Ireland and Northern Ireland. Most recently, I had the opportunity to roll out our Waste Not project, which is the next step in our food waste reduction strategy and will prevent 723,000kg from entering the waste stream annually, while continuing to deliver excellent value to our customers. Since completing the programme in November of this year, I have been offered the position as sales project manager.”
A major part of Lidl’s appeal as an employer is its corporate and social responsibility initiatives, which include a responsible sourcing policy. Some 90 per cent per cent of Lidl goods are own-brand items, and Lidl’s health and nutrition policy has committed to reducing the added sugar and salt levels across these by 20 per cent by the end of 2020.
Other CSR goals achieved or in the pipeline include its zero waste to landfill policy and a major reduction in carbon footprint helped by a switch to 100 per cent green electricity and investments in solar panels and LED lighting.
Lidl was a pioneer in Ireland of the introduction of the living wage rate, offers paid maternity and paternity leave and offers guaranteed minimum 30-hour a week contracts.
In 2018, it received an ‘Outstanding Achievement in Corporate Social Responsibility’ from Chambers Ireland.
To find out more see jobs.lidl.ie