An apprentice at Bridgnorth Specsavers is on track for a rewarding career in eyecare thanks to an apprenticeship programme.

As the nation marks National Apprenticeship Week (Monday 14 to Sunday 20 March), 19-year-old Abigail Sewall is celebrating having recently graduated from the Specsavers Optical Apprenticeship programme. With more than 240 people enrolled on the scheme, it is the UK’s largest government-accredited programme.

Abigail was at sixth form when she heard about the apprenticeship programme and decided to join Bridgnorth Specsavers as part of the scheme. Now she has completed her apprenticeship, Abigail plans to continue her studies alongside her role in store, ultimately training to become a dispensing optician.

‘When I went to sixth form, I found I wasn’t enjoying studying all of the time, so when I came across the opportunity to combine studying with on the job training, I thought it seemed like something I’d enjoy,’ says Abigail. ‘I didn’t know what to expect at first, but having the support of the team throughout the year and having dedicated time each week to study has been really useful. I’m now looking forward to starting my Cert 3 training soon and would certainly recommend the programme to anybody considering taking on an apprenticeship!’

Specsavers Optical Apprenticeship programme

Specsavers’ one-year apprenticeship is open to anyone over the age of 16 and requires no previous optical experience. Those who complete it become qualified optical assistants with the chance of full-time employment at Specsavers.

The programme also opens up further studying opportunities to successful apprentices, with the potential to qualify as a dispensing optician within five years.

Teresa Hughes, store director said: ‘Apprenticeships are a great way to unlock the potential of young people and support them as they embark on successful and fulfilling careers. We’ve been really impressed with Abigail’s progress over the course of her apprenticeship and are pleased that she’s decided to look at completing her Cert 3 next.’

The programme includes the completion of the Level 2 Diploma in: 

  • optics
  • monthly assessor visits
  • observations
  • online learning and
  • courses.

Apprentices also learn on the job, working in-store alongside eyecare professionals.

During their apprenticeship, they become a key member of the store team, welcoming customers, giving them advice, booking in sight tests, carrying out pre-screening and helping the store to run as smoothly as possible.

The apprenticeship scheme has been running for just over two years and 90% of the apprentices take on full-time positions within the company.

All Bridgnorth store information