An apprentice at Specsavers in Bilston is encouraging other school leavers to consider an earn-while-you-learn approach this National Apprenticeship Week after starting an exciting career in optics.

Jessica Millward is currently on the Specsavers apprenticeship programme at the store on the Church Street.  

'Apprenticeship has opened career options for me'

‘So far, I am really enjoying this apprenticeship programme,’ said Jessica. ‘What I like most about it is the practical aspect of it - being in store on the shop floor. As I enjoy being on the shop floor, I find my learning is more effective. I really like that I am part of a team, this helps me gain confidence as I know that there are colleagues around to support me and I can learn a lot from them.

'The written work that I have to complete is challenging and insightful. It helps me to learn things which I can then implement on the shop floor. I also like being able to see my progress through the apprenticeship. This apprenticeship has opened many career options for me, for example, I could go on to become an optical assistant, supervisor, retail store manager, lab technician, and dispensing optician, among many other options.

'I don't know what specific career I would like after the course has finished, but I aspire to remain in the optical industry and progress up the career ladder.’

A word from the store director

Store director, Ajay Patel 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.’

More than 270 people are currently enrolled on the Specsavers apprenticeship programme. 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.

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