As National Apprenticeship Week shines a light on the benefits of hands on industry experience, Specsavers Hemel Hempstead has welcomed its latest team member, Bhavik Gandhi.

The third-year optometry student was recruited as part of the University of Hertfordshire’s new Master of Optometry course, which integrates a pre-reg (pre-registration) year into the four-year programme.

Harrow born Bhavik, who has previously worked at the Edgware and Stanmore Specsavers stores as an assistant, always wanted to work in the health industry.

‘I did work experience in a couple of roles within healthcare, but optometry was a clear favourite. As I knew already what I wanted to study it was just about finding the right course, so the fact that I can gain hands on experience as part of my course is fantastic,’ said Bhavik.

The student is keen to promote the benefits of a working placement, whether as part of a University programme or through a standalone apprenticeship.

'Receiving great support'

‘Working in the store really enables me to put the theory into practice. I’m receiving such great support from the team and each day is completely different,’ he added.

Store director Shane Abbas Bhimani couldn’t agree more. ‘The University of Hertfordshire’s course, as well as Specsavers’ own dedicated pre-reg scheme, offer an excellent opportunity to enter the industry in a safe and structured way.

‘Bhavik is one of four pre-regs currently working at the store, and we’re also delighted to have optometrist Mujahid Sachoo, who has been getting on exceptionally well since qualifying towards the end of last year.

‘It’s great to see our team members embark on successful and fulfilling careers, it gives us a sense of pride just as much as it does them.’

Comprehensive placement

Specsavers’ pre-regs benefit from seven days of courses throughout the placement, including a comprehensive induction, workshops, assessment preparation and mock exams.

This year’s University of Hertfordshire students will be the first year-group to graduate from the new Master of Optometry course, in summer 2019. They will leave as registered optometrists, eligible for full registration with the General Optical Council.

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