Nineteen-year-old Danielle Rees who works at Specsavers in Tewkesbury is reaping the rewards of on the job training as part of an apprenticeship programme.

Danielle is currently on the one year Specsavers Optical Apprenticeship programme and with more than 240 people are enrolled on the scheme, it’s the UK’s biggest government-accredited programme.

Having left school, Danielle was keen to continue learning and was attracted by the on the job training the apprenticeship scheme offered. She is balancing her studies with her role as a retail assistant at the store and enjoying the variety of skills she is learning.

Continue further study

‘It’s been really interesting so far and everyone at the store has been very supportive,’ said Danielle. ‘During quieter times I’ve been able to get on with work in store which I’ve done online. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking to start a career in optics and I’m hoping to be able to stay on and continue further study once I’ve finished.’

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

Specavers store director, Glenn Dunkley said: ‘We believe that apprenticeships are a great way to unlock the potential of young people and provide a path for them to embark on successful and fulfilling careers.

Great opportunity

‘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.

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

All Tewkesbury store information