Apprentices at Specsavers in both Retford and Worksop are starting an exciting career in optics thanks to an apprenticeship programme.
Both Louis Abbot from Retford and Erin van de Vliet recently graduated from the Specsavers apprenticeship programme and, during National Apprenticeship Week (Monday 5 – 9 March), are encouraging others to get involved in the scheme. More than 270 people are currently enrolled on the Specsavers apprenticeship programme.
Originally from Worksop, Louis left college in July 2016 and felt unsure about what he wanted to do. Keen to remain in further education but with an appetite to earn a living, he decided to embark on an apprenticeship programme.
Louis joined Specsavers in Retford in December 2016 as an optical apprentice and then enrolled onto the Specsavers Apprenticeship Programme in January 2017. The programme is 12 months long and in that time, an apprentice is guided through the world of optics, the industry and what career opportunities are available at Specsavers.
Louis said: ‘There are so many roles to consider in optics and with different progression pathways, I’m really keen to progress as far as I can. I want to broaden my horizons at Specsavers and aim high. I’d eventually like to become a dispensing optician.
'Since leaving college and joining Specsavers, I’ve had so much support while undertaking on the job training. Apprentices are overseen by an assessor to make sure that they are confidently guided through the programme. There’s been a mixture of practical assessments and course work, so the balance has been just right. I’ve done exactly what I wanted to do – find a career that’s right for me, continue in education and earn a salary.’
Following his completion of the course, Louis was given a permanent contract at Specsavers.
Erin van de Vliet
Erin, who trained at the Worksop store, first began studying for a career in childcare before joining the Specsavers team.
Erin said: ‘I found the Specsavers apprenticeship programme very good, and the team at Worksop made me feel welcome, training and supporting through my course. I realised how many benefits there were to a career with Specsavers, as there are so many career paths which I could now take, which I find very exciting. Now I’ve graduated I can’t wait to see what the future holds.’
Unlocking future potential
Karen Allan, store director at Specsavers in Retford says: ‘Apprenticeships are a great way to unlock the potential of young people or those looking for a career change and provide a way for them to embark on successful and fulfilling careers. The Specsavers scheme offers learners an excellent opportunity to enter the world of work in a safe and structured way, providing them with a real job, great training and qualifications.’
About the programme
Specsavers’ one-year apprenticeship is open to anyone over the age of 16 and requires no previous optical experience. Apprentices can choose to work as an optical assistant or take on roles in customer service or retail. Specsavers is also trialling an optical technician apprenticeship for those interested in working in a lab.
Those that complete the apprenticeship will become fully qualified in those roles with the chance of full time employment at Specsavers. Each course will include monthly assessor visits, observations, online learning and courses. Apprentices also learn on the job, working in-store alongside qualified professionals and becoming part of the team.
The apprenticeships scheme has been running for just over three years and 90% of the apprentices take on permanent positions within the company, with 85% undertaking further training.