DISCOUNT retailer Aldi is looking to recruit around 500 apprentices in 2014 - including for its Crewe and Nantwich stores - as part of its apprenticeship scheme.

Applications for the scheme opened in May for Aldi’s Scotland stores and June for stores in England and Wales.

Aldi initially launched its National Apprentice Scheme in February 2012, and has since created more than 500 jobs to attract young people towards a management career in retail, for those who do not wish to attend university.

The scheme offers store assistant training in year one and store management training in years two and three with a salary of £5.15 per hour rising to £7.41 per hour and working towards a title of ‘Deputy Manager’ upon completion.

Aldi apprentices will also achieve a Retail Apprenticeship Level 3 qualification, which very few retailer apprenticeships currently offer.

By the end of the scheme, the most successful apprentices will have the opportunity to progress to the position of Assistant Store Manager with a starting salary of £23,700.

By joining the Aldi Apprentice Scheme, young people could ultimately be fast tracked to a Store Manager position if they excel during training.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock MP said: “We want it to be the new norm for young people to choose to either go to university or begin an apprenticeship. It's great news that Aldi is making apprenticeships a key part of its growth strategy and recruiting around 500 new apprentices this year.

“Apprenticeships increase business productivity and increase skills levels, so with a talent pool of over a million potential employees, it is the ideal time for companies to take advantage of the opportunities for business growth provided by employing apprentices.”

James Hutcheson, managing director responsible for overseeing the Aldi Academy, said: “We are looking to attract committed and resourceful young people across the UK to join our apprentice scheme.

"Successful candidates will be joining one of the most dynamic and fast-growing retailers in the UK, with a proven track record in developing its staff.

“Aldi’s apprentices are given real responsibility from day one, with the opportunity to learn about the business from a grassroots level, and we expect our recruits to progress through to managerial level.”