An apprentice on the Hull team has embarked on a rewarding career in eyecare after graduating from the opticians’ Optical Apprenticeship programme.

Alice Walker recently celebrated her achievements and was presented with a certificate by Paul Marshall, Specsavers’ UK and Ireland managing director to mark the completion of the Cert 3 Optical Assistant course.

More than 240 people are currently enrolled on the scheme, the UK’s biggest government-accredited programme.

‘I’m really glad I took the opportunity’

Alice joined Specsavers and enrolled on the programme in 2015 and now has a permanent role at the store.

She said: ‘I had never considered a career in optics, however, I saw the opportunity on an apprenticeship website and I’m really glad I went for it. I love my role in store and being a part of such a supportive team.

‘I have now completed my apprenticeship and recently started the Enhanced Optical Services Top Up, which will build on what I’ve learnt and help me to further develop my skills.’

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

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

Unlock your potential

Specsavers Hull store director Neil Pinkney said: ‘We believe that apprenticeships are a great way to unlock the potential of young people and provide a way for them to embark on successful and fulfilling careers.

‘Our scheme benefits those who want to work their way up to qualifying as a dispensing optician. It's also a great opportunity to give back to the communities we serve.'

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.

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

Highly recommended

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

‘I would definitely recommend the apprenticeship to others as it’s a great way to learn as well as earn,’ added Alice.

‘By doing the apprenticeship you begin to understand the world of optics and see if it’s right for you. I really enjoyed it and it’s given me lots of opportunities to take my career forward.’

At least 33% of those who take on a full-time position go on to further studies with Specsavers, with many training to become dispensing assistants through Specsavers’ externally-accredited Level 3 and Level 4 Certificates in Optical Dispensing. 

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