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Real stories

Our current and recent Graduates have achieved some amazing things throughout their Graduate program and they share their experiences in a job they love!

If you haven’t already, make sure you check out more info About the program, your Support Network and of course our Events, Key Dates & FAQ page!


Alexandra's Graduate Experience! Supermarkets Operations

  Alex - Supers Ops 

Why did you apply for the Supermarkets stream of the Operations Graduate Program?

I applied for the program because I thought it looked like an amazing opportunity to be a part of such an iconic organisation in Australia. The program included diverse rotations that I believed I could use my previous skills and experience as well as my bachelor degree to achieve a successful program.

What is the coolest experience you’ve had in the Graduate Program so far?

One of the coolest experiences I have had so far is being awarded at the first Graduate Awards events. Out of over 300 graduates with only 11 awards, I was presented the Customer King Award. I loved meeting all the graduates from across the country and being able to connect with general managers of Coles at the Graduate Awards ceremony. It’s so rewarding working for a company that put’s such a high emphasis on recognising their team members!

What are some of your day to day tasks?

During this stage of my program I am managing a team of over 30 diverse team members as a senior leader. This includes but is not limited to, rostering for success, executing promotional activities and displays, inventory management, conflict management and ensuring that customers’ expectations are exceeded each and every time they come into a Coles supermarket.

What do you love about your Job?

I love that I have the opportunity to manage large and diverse teams and the responsibility and accountability to make a real difference in the business every day. I love the diversity of role rotations throughout the program so far and the challenges and opportunities that each rotation brings.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in the program so far?

The biggest challenge so far is being able to adapt to people who have years of experience and then being put in a situation where you are their manager. This is challenging because as a graduate you are a leader and go to person but you are also learning every day.  

Why Coles?

I decided to apply for the Coles graduate program because Coles is an iconic and extremely recognisable brand in Australia. Growing up in Australia, Coles was an important part of our family culture as we often shopped weekly as a family. Coles Supermarket is an incredible success story in Australia and I wanted to be part of the exciting and ambitious future at Coles.

What skills do you believe an Operations Graduate needs to be successful in the program?

I believe the most important skill an Operations graduate can have is an open mind and the determination and ambition to take every opportunity with both hands. The operations program is extremely diverse and it is essential to be dynamic and demonstrate humility every day to customers and team members as this is the most important attribute to a successful program.

Describe an Operations Graduate in 3 words

Eager, enthusiastic and humble   

Key skills of a Supermarkets Operations Graduate:

  • A passion for putting people and customers at the heart of what you do
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to work in a team and autonomously where required
  • Have strong commercial awareness

Check out our about the program page to learn more about what stream is right for you! 


Joshua's Graduate Experience! Coles Express Operations

 Joshua cook - CEXP ops 


Why did you apply for the Coles Express Operations Graduate Program?

I applied for the Coles Express Graduate position because I really enjoy working with the company in my current role as a site manager. I know the program will be a great opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of the CEXP business and to establish a long term career.

As a current site manager, what do you think will be the biggest difference between your role now and in the Graduate Program?

The biggest difference between my role now and my Graduate position I believe would be that I’m no longer focused on the one site but aiming to have an impact on the business on a much larger scale. 

What do you love about your Job?

What I love most about my job is that I work with a great team! The business has a very supportive culture and I enjoy the challenges that Coles Express brings me daily. Coles Express gives me the experience of working for a business with a big scale but with a small business feel.

What about the program are you most excited about?

What I’m most excited about in the program is that I get the opportunity to cycle through the different areas of the business from working with the Regional Area Manager to the Regional HR Manager, learning as I go and building relationships with colleagues. 

Why Coles?

The reason why is simple, Coles Express is a leader within the industry, the company has a great reputation with its constant strive to deliver the best quality products at the best prices! This is a movement with competitive edge, one that I am definitely proud of being a part of.

What's the best thing about working for Coles Express?

The best thing about working for Coles Express is that I have the ability to actually make a difference to the customer’s day. With a large range of products; accompanied by the everyday prices campaign, our customers leave the store feeling happy that they chose Coles Express. 

Go Coles Express!!!!!

Key skills of a Coles Express Operations Graduate:
  • A passion for customers and retailing
  • Have strong commercial awareness
  • Be able to build strong relationships
  • A team player with a positive can do attitude 
  • Ability to embrace change, adapt and innovate

Check out our about the program page to learn more about what stream is right for you! 


Jordan's Graduate Experience! Distribution Centre (DC) Operations

Jordan - DC 


Why did you apply for the Distribution Centre Operations Graduate Program?

My current skills I felt would be challenged within this environment, I also wanted to work for an Australian owned multi-faceted business and Coles Logistics provided this. With nearly 800 stores in a large and complex operation, your skills will be put to the test.

Logistics isn’t for the faint hearted, University will give you the tools and logistics will put those tools into real life experiences!

What is the coolest experience you’ve had in the Graduate Program so far?

Earlier in 2016, a storm hit South East Queensland which resulted in road closures due to flooding, this placed severe pressure on the trucks that were currently on the road to hit their store delivery windows. I worked closely with our transport provider and monitoring Department of Transport and Main Roads QLD website to find alternative roads for travelling, we successfully delivered products to our customers in full and on time which meant that Coles customers were able get the products they wanted!

What are some of your day to day tasks?

We rotate all the time, for example, if you are in receiving, it will be planning your labour to unload all allocated trucks for the day in the most efficient way. In addition to this, you also manage volume coming into the DC and this will mean working closely with our transport providers, suppliers and head office.

If you are in despatch you will be responsible for in full and on time deliveries to hundreds of stores daily, meaning that our customers walk into their local store and buy their groceries with all products on there shelves.

What do you love about your Job?

Constantly being busy and challenged whilst having either a function to manage or a project to work on. The beauty with Coles is that they trust you to work autonomously, but if things get too much there is a mountain of support to get the job done.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in the program so far?

My background is white collar and moving into a blue collar Distribution Centre has been a large eye opener to me. Adapting and getting to know your team is so important, they are all different and have their own lives and challenges, they are also the engine of our operation and without them we couldn’t do our roles.

Why Coles?

The retail landscape in Australia is very complex; we are in a highly competitive environment with new company’s entering the market rapidly. This creates healthy competition to deliver low prices and quality service to our customers. Being part of the Logistics team gives me a great opportunity to help Coles deliver quality, service and value to our customers, making us stand out from our competitors.   

What has been the most rewarding experience so far?

I love walking into my local store and seeing the shelves all full, thinking that I have had a small part in ensuring that this has happened. If the DC is performing well, then the stores will have one less thing to worry about. Throughout your various rotations, you will have the ability to make a difference and work on some really exciting projects.  


Key skills of a DC Operations Graduate:
  • Ability to work and thrive in an ever changing environment

  • Excellent time management skills

  • Solution focused and ability to think analytically

  • Ability to multi task with limited supervision

Check out our about the program page to learn more about what stream is right for you!


Let us feed your ambition with a career at Coles!

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