RateMyPlacement.co.uk, the UK’s leading website for undergraduate work experience, recently announced its Top 100 Placement and Internship Employers. This year, ten retail and FMCG companies made the cut.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car ranks the highest of the retail industry at number 12, with Unilever at number 38 and Tesco at number 48. The remaining list includes John Lewis, Lidl, L’Oreal, Mars, Aldi, M&S and Nestle.
A list of the top 100 undergraduate employers was compiled using over 7,000 student reviews throughout the 2013-2014 academic year. Student criteria used included amount of responsibility given, the value felt by colleagues, overall impressions of the company, training and development opportunities and transferable skills gained.
Undergraduate sandwich years and seasonal holidays give students the opportunity to further their discipline in a work environment related to their chosen area of study. Given the increasingly growing number of graduates struggling to secure employment in today’s highly competitive job market, internships and placements could be seen as the gateway to bypassing the endless task of job searching post graduation.
Ollie Sidwell, Co-founder at RateMyPlacement commented:
“It is essential for students to showcase practical experience in their desired field in addition to their university learnings. Choosing the right undergraduate employment can heavily influence future career choices and our top 100 list should really help students make the best decisions for them – as well as providing a key platform to attract promising students to the top employers.”
The retention rate of placement students is down in FMCG and retail, with 55% staying on or being offered a new role, slightly less than the average of 56%, but a significant drop from the 78% seen last year.
Retail Gazette spoke to James Hutcheson, Regional Managing Director at Aldi about the retailer’s placement scheme:
How are undergrads recruited for placements/internships?
“Aldi actively recruits university students for its Retail Placement Scheme through careers fairs and on-campus activities. Aldi’s scheme is open for applications from the beginning of September until the end of March each year.
Candidates are asked to complete an online application form which includes a situational judgement test. If successful, they are invited to a group interview followed by a one-on-one interview with the region’s Managing Director as the final stage.”
How much more relevant is industry experience than the degree itself?
“Aldi values a range of qualities when hiring graduates such as team-working, organisational and leadership experience. However we do ask that candidates possess a minimum 2:1 degree, thus highlighting their work ethic and commitment.
Students who successfully complete Aldi’s Retail Placement Scheme are better placed for further advancement onto our Area Management Programme, as they will already be familiar with our business model and the demands of the Area Manager role.”
What sets apart Aldi’s placements from other retailers’?
“The Retail Placement Scheme gives students a genuine insight into life at Aldi and the skills required to succeed in retail, through a mixture of theory and in-store work.
Over a twelve month period, students are involved in store operations, logistics, trading, property and financial administration. The initial, and longest, phase of the placement takes place in store operations, experiencing everything from stacking shelves to shadowing a Store Manager and leading the team. Our placement students are given real responsibility during their time with us.”