See into your future with a Specsavers Retail Optical Apprenticeship!

They’ve got the vision if you’ve got the drive! Spescavers in Bicester are on the lookout for an Apprentice to join the team and follow in the footsteps of Retail Optical Apprentice Harvey, who’s just coming to the end of his Apprenticeship. Find out more at: https://www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeship/-7040.

There’s a lot more to a Specsavers Retail Optical Apprenticeship than you might think, including the opportunity to progress towards undertaking a degree, fully paid for by the company. The Apprenticeship consists of a number of different strands, enabling you to focus your career on the areas of work that most interest you:

  • Pretesting – using equipment to test for health conditions
  • Dispensing – helping people to choose frames and advising them on type and style
  • Dispensing of glasses – the more technical side which includes taking measurements, ensuring that people have the right prescription and understand the technical difference between types of lenses and frames, as well as collection
  • Contact lenses – advising customers on different types of lenses and how to use them, completing paperwork for contact lens schemes and solving customer problems
  • Hearing – supporting the customer journey, from hearing tests to helping them identify and solve problems with hearing aids
  • Lab work – Apprentices spend time in the lab doing things like cutting lenses. Specsavers plan to introduce a Lab Technician Apprenticeship in the near future for people who are interested in this side of the industry

After 12 months as a Retail Optical Apprentice, you can go on to gain a Cert 3 during the following year, demonstrating that you understand the principles of eye tests, problems with vision and eye disease. You can then progress to a Cert 4 if you have the right mathematical abilities.

You also have the opportunity to become a qualified optician by obtaining a degree in dispensing optics – a correspondence based course gained over 3 years whilst working full time, including attending university one day a week.

Following this, you can train as a contact lens optician by completing an 18 month conversion course or take a 2 year course to become an ophthalmic optician. You could also choose to take the audiology route and become a hear care assistant by completing an 18-24 month course and progress to a degree in audiology to become an audiologist.

Harvey Marshall, 18, knew that he didn’t want to go to university and decided that he would like to start an Apprenticeship after completing Year 12 at The Bicester School. He considered becoming an Electrician but failed the colour vision test at Bicester Specsavers!

Harvey says: “I thought about two things – what I would like to do and what it could lead to. The Apprenticeship  with Specsavers gave me the opportunity to do something I enjoy and offered my lots of different options for my future career. My role is more complicated than I was expecting! It’s a very varied job and different every day from taking bookings to dispensing glasses. I find it really interesting working with customers and I particularly enjoy working in the lab. I’m planning to develop my career in that area of work.”

Optometrist and owner of Specsavers Bicester Sarah Marshall says: “When Harvey came for his interview, he wasn’t very confident and we weren’t sure that he was right for the role. But when he hassled us to find out if he’d been successful we realised that he was quietly confident and we could see a lot of potential there! We gave Harvey the opportunity and he has gained in confidence ever since! Harvey has just the right manner for helping and advising our customers - he gets a lot of compliments about the kind and sensitive way he interacts with them, which they really appreciate when making important decisions about things like choosing the right lenses or frames.”

“As an employer, you feel really proud of your Apprentices and their achievements. We’re delighted that Harvey will be staying with the team and are really looking forward to welcoming a new Apprentice to the store to follow in Harvey’s footsteps.”

Harvey's exceptional customer service has recently been rewarded with a customer service award. Read more

Charlee White, 31, has been with Specsavers since she started a Saturday job at 14. She didn’t stay on at school to do A Levels but started as a Lab Technician with Specsavers Bicester at 16 and has worked her way up into a management role with lots of opportunities open to her. Charlee has some great advice for young people leaving school this summer.

She says: “Don’t feel you have to go to uni - work hard at whatever suits you best! Don’t worry about making a decision at 16 or 18 years old, this is just the start for you. be realistic too - I have a reliable, interesting, fulfilling job that gives me stability and opportunity. I also have lots of interests outside work too – like DJing – I love doing that in my own time rather than trying to make it into a career.”

Find out more about Bicester Spescavers at: https://www.specsavers.co.uk/stores/bicester and the Retail Optical Apprenticeship opportunity at: https://www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeship/-7040

Specsavers recruit Apprentices to their stores across Oxfordshire, so keep an eye on their jobs website: http://jobs.specsavers.co.uk/search-for-jobs/ for opportunities near you!

Pictured are Apprentice Harvey with Bicester Specsavers owner Sarah Marshall and manager Charlee White.