A young girl with Asperger’s who struggled to progress in her former workplace has turned her career around by joining an apprenticeship scheme at Specsavers.

Apprentice scheme

21-year-old Rebekkah Martin, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome aged 16, joined Specsavers Croydon North End as part of a brand new scheme to develop budding young opticians.

Rebekkah says: ‘In my previous work place, which was a customer facing role, I found it really hard because I had no training or mentor. I would get flustered and stressed out and then made to feel like I was unfit to work.

‘Things couldn’t be more different now, though. I’m now in an environment where there is a really good support systems and I feel people are always willing to offer advice and support. Having Jas Kalsi as my learning and development manager has also really helped as my way of learning is obviously different to other people so it’s a great place to be.’

National Apprenticeship week

Rebbekah’s story comes as the nation marks National Apprenticeship Week (5 – 9 March), which aims to celebrate the success of apprentices from across the country and encourage even more people to choose it as their pathway to success.

Rebecca was full of praise for the opportunities made available through apprenticeships.

‘Looking for work can be really tough, especially if your GCSE grades are low. Employers just seem to be looking for specific skills and qualifications and if you’re in a position like mine, it rules out a lot of potential pathways to employment.

‘Apprenticeships help to ensure people with low grades aren’t just cut adrift and still have hope that they can progress and enjoy a fulfilling career.

‘It’s also really great for those people who are unsure about further education as it still provides a platform to earn and learn as well as forging your own career path. Now that I’m with Specsavers, I’m confident I still have a bright future.’

Exceeding expectations

Jas Kalsi, Rebekkah’s learning and development manager at Specsavers says: ‘Rebekkah is progressing really well with us and I’ve seen her confidence grow and grow. She’s extremely enthusiastic about her learning and development and she’s really exceeding customer expectations.

‘She’s now in an ideal role for her, where she has our wholehearted support and we’d encourage more people seeking apprenticeships to enrol with Specsavers and see where the journey will take them.’

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