An apprentice at Specsavers in Cheltenham has been chosen from thousands as a South West regional finalist in the National Apprenticeship Awards and attended the award ceremony on 25 September in Bristol.

Celebrations for Molly

Staff are celebrating the success of their optical assistant, Molly Taylor, who completed the Specsavers apprenticeship scheme and now encourages others to consider the earn-while-you-learn approach after starting her exciting career in optics.

‘I’ve gained so much knowledge and happiness from this apprenticeship, so I was over the moon to hear I had made it to the regional finals,’ said Molly. ‘As I didn’t do so well in school, I feel extremely grateful that Specsavers in Cheltenham gave me the opportunity to excel and opened lots of potential career paths.’

‘We’re so pleased to hear that Molly has made it through as a regional finalist and we are all immensely proud,’ said store director, Melanie Brackstone. ‘She is an asset to the team here in Cheltenham and has come so far over the past year. While we’re delighted to have provided Molly opportunities to progress, it’s her dedication and determination that have got her to where she is now.’ 

Going above and beyond

Alongside her training, Molly has visited the Rainbows Girl Group to help run educational yet fun activities for the youngsters. She also went to Cheltenham Jobcentre during National Apprenticeship Week to deliver an informative session, promoting the benefits of apprenticeships to jobseekers. As well as helping to spearhead community work, Molly has been sent to Specsavers training centres to further develop her knowledge and expertise.

Apprenticeship scheme

‘The apprenticeship was a year-long process,’ continued Molly. ‘I gained experience of many different sides to the business, including customer service and dispensing. I had to complete several projects, which centred around different eye conditions including glaucoma and diabetes, and the customer feedback process. 

‘I was supported all the way with an apprenticeship tutor, Rebecca McLaverty-Head, who is the one that suggested I put myself forward for this apprenticeship award. As it worked so well for me, I saw these awards as an opportunity to get the Specsavers apprenticeship scheme recognised nationally and encourage others to apply.’

Molly is now qualified as an optical assistant and is hoping to go on and study for her Cert 3 optical exams, which involves a year of more in-depth study. She is looking forward to her future where she could qualify as an optician, dispensing optician or even contact lens optician. Specsavers has run the apprenticeship scheme for more than three years and 90% of the apprentices take on full-time positions within the company.

Hosted by the National Apprenticeship Service, the National Apprenticeship Awards have been running for 15 years now. The awards showcase a diverse range of sectors that are engaged with apprenticeships and specifically celebrate outstanding apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces, and employers who go above and beyond to support them.

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