Optical apprentices have sights set on career development

More than 100 optical assistants celebrate completing Specsavers’ apprenticeship programme

15 Mar 2016 by Robina Moss

Lauren Smith accepts award at Specsavers graduation ceromonyAs National Apprenticeship Week gets underway (14–20 March), more than 100 optical assistants are celebrating completing Specsavers’ apprenticeship programme.

Their achievements were honoured at a graduation ceremony at the ICC in Birmingham last week. Specsavers co-founder, Dame Mary Perkins (pictured right), presented the graduates with their certificates alongside UK managing director Paul Marshall (pictured left).

Dame Mary said: “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.”

Specsavers’ one-year apprenticeship is open to anyone over the age of 16 and requires no previous optical experience. Those that complete it become qualified optical assistants with the chance of full time employment at Specsavers.

A further 250 apprentices are currently completing the scheme.

Dame Mary added: “We are very proud of all our apprentices and that so many who graduate go on to take permanent jobs with us as fully-fledged optical assistants.”

The Specsavers apprenticeship scheme has been running for just over two years. It includes the completion of the Level 2 Diploma in Optics, monthly assessor visits, observations, online learning and courses.

Some 90% of the apprentices take on full-time positions within the company and more than one third of those go on to further studies with the multiple, with many training to become dispensing assistants through Specsavers’ externally-accredited Level 3 and Level 4 Certificates in Optical Dispensing. These in turn can lead to eventual qualification as a dispensing optician.

Graduate Lauren Smith (pictured centre) is now a training ambassador and merchandiser at the Specsavers Cribbs Causeway store in Bristol.

She said: “When I left school I knew I wanted a career in healthcare but didn’t feel university was for me. It was a really comprehensive programme and I learnt a huge amount which I am now putting into practice. I received lots of support from my colleagues and I’ve now started my Certificate 3 training to get my dispensing qualification.”

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