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Build your career with extra qualifications, hands-on work experience and a full salary

Completing a degree while in full-time employment has never been so easy with Lidl’s Feed Your Mind Degree Programme

Are you hungry to build your career in retail management and expand your education? That’s exactly what the Lidl Feed Your Mind Management Degree Programme offers, which runs in conjunction with Ulster University and Irish Times training. Hands-on work experience and a full salary are part and parcel of the two-year level 7 foundation degree in management practice with specialism in retail.

Aimed at people with a background in retail or operations, the programme is a unique collaboration between the renowned family retailer and a third-level institution, and offers the chance to beef up both the qualifications and hands-on experience sections of your CV.

The programme commenced in 2018 and applications and participants have grown every year since, from just over 800 applications in 2018 with 17 placed on to the programme, to almost 2,400 applications last year with 35 successful applicants. Even more people are expected to be accepted this year, says Jack O’Brien, employer brand business partner with Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“The Feed Your Mind Management Degree Programme is an exceptional opportunity for those in the early stages of retail management who want to fast-track their career with one of the world’s most ambitious global retailers,” he says. The programme offers a unique opportunity to retail and logistics professionals who are hungry to build their career, benefiting from secure paid employment while enjoying access to a fully funded university degree.


Participants will be in the unique position to learn as they earn

Successful candidates are given a two-year fixed-term contract in the role of either deputy store manager or deputy logistics manager. This opportunity is open to both external applicants and existing Lidl employees. They will earn a university-accredited foundation degree in management practice with specialism in retail. The majority of those who have completed the programme have secured permanent management positions in a variety of business areas within the company, O’Brien notes.

“Participants will be in the unique position to learn as they earn and will benefit from a blended learning structure of in-store operations, mentoring and academic learning, all underpinned by an attractive salary package. At Lidl, we believe that our people are our greatest asset, so we are giving candidates access to the wealth of experienced management personnel and mentors we already have within the business to the next generation of incoming talent,” he explains.

O’Brien adds that the retailer is keen to give applicants the support they need to develop a long-term career with Lidl; for example, each student is assigned a mentor and a coach for the duration of the programme.

The programme has continued to build on its success, despite the challenges of the pandemic. Participation in Feed Your Mind will be even more seamless and accessible during the forthcoming academic term, as lectures will be delivered virtually for the time being.

While the retail sector has been affected in different ways as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, O’Brien says the programme is evidence that there are still great opportunities in growth areas. He notes the programme might be an option for someone who is looking for a new opportunity following the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality sector.

Applications are now open until July 16th, 2021, for the forthcoming September intake, and O’Brien expects strong interest from candidates both within Lidl and externally.

“Lidl has a very clear vision for success within the global retail industry. If you’re looking for a challenging role in a fast-paced environment with industry-best benefits, then I’d encourage you to apply!”

Lukasz Piotrowski

Lukasz joined the Feed Your Mind Degree Programme in its first year and now works in Lidl Youghal in Co Cork as a deputy store manager.

The incentive for me to do the course was that I wanted to become a better manager. When I joined the programme, I also joined the company, as before that I had been working for another large retailer. In that role I felt stuck in the same place for too long and I wanted to progress and be given more responsibility. I also was attracted to the programme as there is the opportunity to earn a degree while working and building up my experience.

I would encourage anyone working in the retail customer service sector to apply

I had a rough start to the programme due to personal circumstances, as my son got sick just as I was due to begin. I ended up starting much later than my classmates but my mentors and classmates made everything as easy as possible for me, they were so supportive, giving me several weeks off so I could take care of my family.

I was worried that working and doing college work would be too much for me with two young children, but the course is actually geared towards people with young families.

This programme isn’t just for internal Lidl candidates, everyone who is interviewed has the same chance. You learn about every single aspect of the business, not just your own area. I would encourage anyone working in the retail customer service sector to apply if they are looking to take their career to the next level.

Damien Hanniffy

Damien was one of the first students to enter the programme back in 2018 and graduated last October. He tells us about his experience.

My background was in customer service and I then moved into retail. What appealed to me was the opportunity to earn a degree but also earn a full-time wage while I was completing it. I am quite a hands-on person and I wanted to learn something but then apply it in reality. I was already with Lidl as a customer assistant when I applied, but I also wanted to progress my career within the company.

The course offered me so much in the way of opportunity and experience

Throughout the programme I worked as a deputy store manager but the course offered me so much in the way of opportunity and experience. It’s busy learning and working at the same time but you are fully supported – every Tuesday was a day off to study or catch up on coursework, and you could always contact your mentor with any concerns or questions. Work-life balance is important at Lidl, and I felt that ethos was maintained throughout my experience on the programme.

When I graduated, I applied for a store manager position in a new Lidl store in Wellpark, Galway, and I was successful. Now I am using what I learned in the course every day. I would 100 per cent recommend it to someone who is looking for a new challenge!