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Brandon Witkowski at Lidl

With the importance of work placements being emphasised more and more, one student from the University of Worcester proves why a year out of the classroom may be invaluable.

Twenty-two-year-old Brandon Witkowski, from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, has landed a place on Lidl UK’s Graduate Training scheme following a placement with the company last year.

Brandon said: “The placement at Lidl UK certainly helped me to succeed in getting a graduate opportunity after university. It was invaluable to me, along with the support and help of the staff at the university who taught me about the skills and practices of the business industry.”

Brandon, now in his final year of a Business Management degree, has always been interested in a placement year out of university. He said: “From doing my A-levels I always knew that a work placement was something I wanted to do as part of my degree and I was delighted when I realised that the University of Worcester offered the opportunity.

Brandon found the placement at Lidl UK whilst visiting a trade fair at the NEC, a trip arranged by the University of Worcester. After applying for a variety of positions he was selected by Lidl to complete a 48-week placement. The role involved working in warehouses, distribution, in head office and store management.

“Working in a variety of departments and being faced with different ways of working has allowed me to develop my management and leadership styles,” Brandon said. “I’ve learnt that different employees have different requirements and the way you go about achieving them must be varied.

“The placement presented me with a number of challenges; the biggest was running a Lidl store straight after training. Being accountable for the keys to a store was a huge responsibility, along with the other added duties such as running a shift, ensuring employees are happy with their roles and that they are doing their tasks correctly.

“The first time you close down a store and take control of the safe is quite nerve racking. However, this was made easier by Lidl’s great support network.”

Brandon will take on the role of Trainee District Manager shortly after graduating. The job provides the opportunity to progress towards a role in senior management. Lidl UK was finalist for a National Council of Work Experience award and has been credited in The Times top 100 graduate employers.

Brandon said: “The placement definitely gave me confidence and I learned some in depth skills. It enabled me to put into practice what I had learned in the classroom at university.

My degree at Worcester has been a fantastic opportunity and really helped me to get to where I want to be. The academic side of the course, along with the placement, work very well together. For other graduates looking for a job I think the main thing is you need to be determined. It can be very demoralising but make a plan and stick to it.”