PLENTY of career opportunities await in store for successful apprentices.

Aldi Regional Distribution Centre in Bolton held a special graduation ceremony for those who have completed their in store apprenticeship programme.

Giles Farnell, who won Retail Apprentice of the Year for Retail, was among those at the ceremony.

Giles, who is now deputy store manager, said: "I’m really proud to have completed my apprenticeship with Aldi, the three years have flown by. I have learnt so much and completed a Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Retail Management, which is a fantastic achievement.

"I’m really excited about my future with Aldi and look forward to continuing my career as a deputy store manager."

Aldi Store apprentices are trained in all aspects of retail management during their three-year course, which features a mixture of in-store and theory work.

Apprentices on the programme also receive a Level 3 Retail Team Leader qualification. By the end of the programme, successful store apprentices have the opportunity to become Deputy Store Managers if they have exceeded expectations, or candidates who have particularly excelled may receive an assistant store manager contract.

Aldi employed young people even before the apprentice levy was introduced in April 2017 ­— having made a significant investment in the development and training of apprentices since it first launched its Stores Apprenticeship Programme in 2012.

The UK's fifth largest supermarket then went on to launch its Logistics Apprenticeship in 2013, and further extended its apprenticeship offering by launching the Drivers Apprenticeship in 2016. The three available Apprenticeship programmes have created more than 1,000 jobs for young people since the initiatives began.

Ruth Doyle, Regional Managing Director at Aldi, said: "Our apprentices are a vital part of our company and it is essential that we invest in each and every one of them so they can develop with the business to become successful retail managers of the future.

"We’re extremely proud of our graduating apprentices, as we know how much hard work and commitment it takes to succeed on the course. We hope that these are just the first steps in long and successful careers for our apprentices."

The Store Apprenticeship Programme offers store assistant training in year one, and store management training in years two and three, with a salary of £6.00 per hour which rises to £7.50 per hour in year two, and £8.90 in year three. This equates to £180 per week at first, rising to £225 and then £267 per week in year three; significantly higher than the national minimum wage for apprenticeships.

The Logistics Apprenticeship is a three-year programme, during which candidates work towards achieving their Level 2 warehouse operative qualification. Following this, there is the opportunity to join the team on a permanent basis.

The Aldi Driver Apprenticeship programme provides full training, funding and support to candidates wanting to become fully licenced LGV drivers.