Two apprentices at Coalville Specsavers are on track for rewarding careers in eyecare thanks to a national apprenticeship programme.

Specsavers Optical Apprenticeship programme

Stephanie Garrett, aged 17 from Ibstock started on the Specsavers Optical Apprenticeship programme last August and was joined by 17-year old Grace Bell from Thringstone last month. With more than 240 people enrolled on the scheme, it is the UK’s largest government-accredited programme.

‘I didn’t know what to expect at first, but having the support of the team throughout the year and having dedicated time each week to study has been really useful,’ said Stephanie. ‘I would certainly recommend the programme to anybody considering taking on an apprenticeship.’

About the programme

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

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

Shailan Ruparelia, store director, said: ‘Apprenticeships are a great way to unlock the potential of young people and support them as they embark on successful and fulfilling careers. We’ve been impressed with Stephanie’s progress and commitment so far, and are delighted that Grace has recently joined the scheme and welcome her to the team.’

The programme includes the completion of the Level 2 Diploma in Optics, monthly assessor visits, observations, online learning and courses. Apprentices also learn on the job, working in-store alongside eyecare professionals.

During their apprenticeship, they become a key member of the store team, welcoming customers, giving them advice, booking in sight tests, carrying out pre-screening and helping the store to run as smoothly as possible.

The apprenticeship scheme has been running for just over two years and 90% of the apprentices take on full-time positions within the company.

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