24 hours to sign up for a new future | Puck Coorens | International HR Trainee

17 Feb, 2023


Having worked at Albert Heijn stores for over eight years, Puck Coorens was aware of traineeship possibilities at Ahold Delhaize. The recently introduced International HR Traineeship, however, was new to her. Because she’d heard about it from a colleague quite late in the application process, she discovered she had exactly 24 hours left to apply. “In this traineeship I’m offered a chance to identify my strong points, as well as work on any gaps that need attention. I’m also provided with the coaching and training I need to develop my skills even further. That’s extremely valuable.” 

In those 24 hours, Puck had to fill in all the necessary enrolment forms plus take an online assessment. At the same time, she also had to work two shifts at the Albert Heijn store in Amstelveen, where she was managing the fresh produce section at the time. It was what you’d call ‘a race against the clock’. “I did the assessment at 11pm, exactly one hour before the deadline. After that, three more admission rounds followed. I was working 30 hours a week, completing my master’s thesis and writing the last few exams. It was one of the most stressful times of my life, which made me even more ecstatic when I was told I was selected.”  

Seven years ago, in the Albert Heijn in Leiden, one of Puck’s colleagues took part in the company’s Retail Management Traineeship program. “He told me how hard it had been to get in, and how thoroughly he enjoyed it. I decided then and there that one day, I would follow suit. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to see all the different sides of the company, while seizing the chance to grow – both on a personal level and within this company.” 

A blessing in disguise 

Alas, when the end of her master’s degree was in sight, the Retail Traineeship was postponed due to the outbreak of COVID. Then Puck found out about the International HR Traineeship, and she was even more excited. “The Retail Traineeship involved a year of working in one of Ahold Delhaize’s stores. Having worked at Albert Heijn stores for over eight years, that didn’t really appeal to me, to be honest. So when I learned that the International HR Traineeship excluded that obligatory year, and instead allowed trainees to work abroad in one of Ahold Delhaize’s international support offices, I was thrilled. This suited me down to the ground!”