As the nation marked National Apprenticeship Week, more than 100 optical assistants celebrated completing Specsavers’ apprenticeship programme. Their achievements were honoured at a graduation ceremony held during the group’s Learning and Development Seminar at the ICC in Birmingham on Tuesday 8 March.
Great way to unlock the potential of young people
Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins, who presented graduates with their certificates alongside UK managing director Paul Marshall, 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.'
Step to full-time positions
The Specsavers apprenticeship 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 Specsavers, with many training to become dispensing assistants through Specsavers’ externally-accredited Level 3 and Level 4 Certificates in Optical Dispensing.
University wasn't for me
Graduate Teejay Robins from Specsavers in Evesham, said: ‘University wasn’t for me. When I heard about the Specsavers apprenticeship I was instantly attracted to it and it didn’t fail to deliver. I enjoyed being able to apply my learning directly and with the support of the rest of the team found it easy to balance my studies and work.'
Lots of support from colleagues
Fellow graduate Lauren Smith is now a training ambassador and merchandiser at the Cribbs Causeway store, said: ‘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 Cert 3 training to get my dispensing qualification.’
A further 250 apprentices are currently completing the scheme with hundreds more apprenticeships available throughout Specavers stores in England this year.