1,000 apprentices at Aldi

Discount supermarket Aldi has revealed plans to create up to 1,000 apprenticeships as it looks to double its high street presence in the UK.

The German chain announced last week it was planning to double its UK store numbers to 1,000, creating up to 35,000 new jobs — around 1,000 of which would be apprenticeships, training towards store management roles.

An Aldi spokesperson said its £600m investment plan included the creation of “at least one apprenticeship position per store, per year, which would see the employment of between 600 to 1,000 apprentices each year as Aldi strives towards 1,000 stores.”

A spokesperson for the firm declined to said who its lead provider would be and would also not say at what levels the apprenticeships would be in.

However, he said: “Apprentice training and development will be supported by a new Apprenticeship Academy located at Aldi’s offices and distribution centre in Bolton, which is due to open in March 2015.”

Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the investment while visiting Aldi’s UK headquarters in Warwickshire on Monday (November 10).

Mr Cameron said: “Aldi’s plans to create tens of thousands more jobs across the country are a vote of confidence in our long-term economic plan.”

The expansion plan comes after Aldi has increased its retail market share to 4.8 per cent over the past few years as discount chains have attracted customers away from the ‘big four’ supermarkets — Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.

Aldi currently has around 300 apprentices and the apprenticeship increase will place it far above Sainsbury’s — which said it had 200 level three apprentices training on its team leader programme.

By contrast, Morrisons has 2,600 level two and three apprenticeships across a range of job roles, including food production, refrigeration and management.

Tesco offers apprenticeships from level two in retail to level four in technology and in fashion retail.

A spokesperson said the company offered “thousands” of its level two retail apprenticeships, but declined to give more specific figures or comment on how many apprentices it had.

No one from Asda was available to comment on its apprenticeships, but its careers website claims it offers apprenticeships in retail to existing employees.

Unlike Aldi, none of the ‘big four’ recruit into apprenticeships roles — their apprenticeships are completed by existing employees.