As young people across the UK embark on the next chapter of their lives, Emily Davies has chosen to look at other career options as an alternative to university.

Having graduated sixth form earlier this year, Emily has her sights firmly set on a career in the optical industry. As one of hundreds of new apprentices from all over the country taking part in the UK’s biggest government-accredited apprenticeship programme, Emily is looking forward to becoming a qualified optical assistant at Specsavers in Windsor.

Career decisions

Emily, said: ‘Leaving sixth form is a pivotal time for anyone, for some people choosing a career is the biggest decision of their lives and I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to do. I looked at going to university but wasn’t sure it was the right move for me so I decided to look at other options. That’s when I spotted Specsavers’ new apprenticeship programme.

‘I’d had an interest in retail, and even optometry, but never really considered it as a full-time career. After finding out more about the apprenticeships and having an interview at the store in Windsor I was offered a place and a full-time position in-store.

‘For me it’s the perfect mix of working and learning. I can complete my coursework and assessments alongside my job where I get to put the theory I’m learning in books into practice at the same time. When I finish I’ll have a recognised qualification in optical retail and employment management which sets me up perfectly to choose exactly which route to take next.' 

Next generation

Rupal Patel, store director at Specsavers in Windsor, added: ‘Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to unlock their potential and embark on a fulfilling career by learning as they gain experience in a real life working environment, and Emily is doing a brilliant job.

‘It’s a great way for young people to work their way up to a qualified level within the industry, and at the same time allows us to use our years of experience and expertise to give back to the local area by championing talented people from the community. I am confident Emily is going to be a fantastic asset to our team.’

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