As the nation marks National Apprenticeship Week (Monday 14 until Sunday 20 March), Rosie Burford, Sarah Upchurch, Abby Davies, Laura Bolton and Chloe Philips from Launceston are sharing their positive experiences of the Specsavers Apprenticeship Scheme.

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. There are currently 241 people enrolled on the UK’s biggest government-accredited scheme. The programme also provides successful apprentices with further studying opportunities, with the potential to qualify as a dispensing optician within five years.

Hands-on Experience

Rosie Burford, 20, who completed her apprenticeship in February, says: ‘When you leave school, it is really hard to know what career is right for you. For me, this is why an apprenticeship scheme has been so insightful. I have been exposed to lots of different disciplines that make this business successful – from accounting, to marketing, shop floor customer service and the medical side with the eye tests.

Sarah Upchurch, 19, is halfway through the scheme, and says: ‘I am receiving day-to-day training and feel that I am developing and evolving my skills week by week. I am gaining so much confidence and experience in a friendly and supportive environment. ‘But the best part is that I have now found a career I want to pursue and the scheme has opened so many doors to opportunities for me.’

Unlocking Potential

Specsavers Launceston store director, Julia Peggs, says: ‘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. ‘Our scheme benefits those who want to work their way up to qualifying as a dispensing optician. It's also a great opportunity to give back to the community.'

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