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First Specsavers apprentices graduate

All secure in-store employment

specsavers staff with a customer
The first wave of trainees to complete Specsavers’ new optical apprenticeship scheme have graduated, with all 17 securing permanent positions in the multiple.

Specavers’ senior people development manager, Guy Kidd, said: “We launched this apprenticeship scheme a year ago and are very proud of our first graduates and that they have taken up permanent jobs with us as fully fledged optical assistants.”

Mr Kidd added: “We believe that apprenticeships are a great way to unlock the potential of young people and provide a way for them to embark on successful and fulfilling careers.

“It is an excellent opportunity for young learners to enter the world of work in a safe and structured way. It also provides them with a real job, great training and qualifications. Rather than having to pay tuition fees, our apprentices earn a wage and receive additional benefits, including paid holiday.”

He concluded: “Our scheme will benefit those who want to build a career with Specsavers and could work their way up to qualifying as a dispensing optician or manager, or partner. It's also a great opportunity to give back to the communities we serve.”

The multiple’s one-year apprenticeship is open people over the age of 16 and requires no previous optical experience. Those who complete the scheme become qualified optical assistants and have the chance of full time employment at Specsavers.

There are currently 200 apprentices enrolled in the programme, with a further 100 anticipated to start in England throughout the rest of this year.

The programme also offers apprentices further studying opportunities, with the potential to qualify as a dispensing optician within five years.

The programme includes the completion of the Level 2 Diploma in Optical Retail Skills, which includes six weekly assessor visits, online learning and courses. Apprentices primarily learn on the job, working in-store alongside practitioners.

They become a key member of the store team, welcoming customers, giving them advice, booking in eye examinations, carrying out pre-screening and dispensing of spectacles, and helping the store to run as smoothly as possible.

Explaining the benefits of the scheme, Bethany English, who completed her apprenticeship at Specsavers Worthing, said: “I’ve always worn glasses and wanted to work at Specsavers so this was a perfect opportunity for me. You gain lots of experience on the job and are also given time for study and to attend courses.

“I had an in-store mentor who looked after me and kept on track with all my work and study.”

Richard Fry, who graduated through the Salisbury store, added: “The thing I’m most proud of is how quickly I’ve learned some of the different skills. I find the dispensing side of things really interesting, in terms of the different types of lenses that are available and how they are made. I’ve also done a bit of training time in the lab as well.”