A former apprentice at Specsavers in Acocks Green is highlighting the value of earn-while-you-learn schemes as an effective career starter during National Apprenticeship Week.

Ekra Khan graduated from the Specsavers apprenticeship programme in September 2017, which more than 270 people are currently enrolled in. The scheme allowed her to progress to a qualified optical assistant after just a year, and she is now looking towards further study by undertaking the professional Cert 3 course.

'Opportunities to progress'

‘The Specsavers apprenticeship scheme gave me opportunities to progress and prove myself,’ Ekra commented. ‘When I joined from school in September 2016, I was able to work towards a qualification while qualifying as an optical assistant.

‘During my course, I had monthly assessor visits and observations, and undertook online learning and courses which complimented the practical in-store experience, working alongside qualified professionals and becoming part of the team.

‘I’m now a qualified optical assistant and have applied to the next stage in my professional development. The Cert 3 qualification will give me a deeper knowledge of all aspects of optics including dispensing specs to customers, the anatomy of the eye, vision types and contact lenses.

‘I would definitely recommend the Specsavers apprenticeship programme to all those who are looking to kick-start their careers in an interesting and challenging area.’

'Unlocking the potential of young people'

Store director Ramiz Ahmed said: ‘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.’

Specsavers apprenticeship scheme

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.

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.

To search for current apprenticeship vacancies at Specsavers please click here

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