What started as a weekend job has become a vocation for optometrist Andrew Williams, who has become joint store director of Specsavers in Pembroke Dock with his former mentor, Ellie Thomas-Wigley.
Mr Williams, 28, was just 16 when he started working at Specsavers in Pontypridd as an optical assistant. Some 12 years and a degree in optometry later, he will now oversee the provision of eye health services at the Wales Eye Care Services-accredited Dimond Street store.
Ms Thomas-Wigley, 40, will be working alongside him and is responsible for retail, business and staff development. The duo replace former store director, Gary Owen, who stepped down in November 2016.
‘Building on a great reputation’
‘I’m really excited about this next step in my career and can’t wait to work with Ellie on building on the great reputation Mr Owen established during his 13 years at the practice,’ said Mr Williams.
‘I believe in Specsavers’ community ethos and am a living example of its commitment to staff development and retention. I look forward to being able to provide others with the same opportunities I’ve enjoyed.’
Mr Williams met Ms Thomas-Wigley during his ILM management training – she was his mentor and personal coach. Having spent 15 years at Specsavers, and with a background in retail support and management, when the opportunity to run the Pembroke Dock store arose, Ms Thomas-Wigley knew exactly which optometrist she wanted to work with.
‘I knew we understood each other and were on the same page so, when this opportunity came up, there was only one person I wanted to run a store with,’ she said.
‘Andrew and I have two ambitions; one is to create a great place to work, with a “grow your own talent policy” that focuses on ensuring our team feel they can achieve whatever they put their minds to. And the second is to ensure that the community in Pembroke look forward to coming to us for the best possible eyecare.’