Specsavers has announced an initiative to help develop talented new healthcare specialists. It has pledged to offer 100 placements in optical care services for learners studying the new Government-led T Level qualification in Healthcare Science.
Working in partnership with the educational charity and leader in vocational and technical learning NCFE, it is hoped the scheme will help to expand the pipeline of talented individuals entering the profession.
Dena Wyatt, National Apprenticeship Manager for UK Apprenticeships at Specsavers, says: ‘Supporting the next generation of potential future stars of our industry is hugely important and something that Specsavers is passionate about for the benefit of all, not least for colleagues across the sector but customers as well.
‘This initiative with NCFE is just one example of how Specsavers works with a range of different partners to elevate the industry as a whole. The 45 days that make up an industry placement are arranged to suit the employer and the student, and they can be planned over a short period in week blocks or over months covering a day or two at a time.’
The two-year T Level courses are for 16–19-year-olds and are equivalent to studying three A Levels. The qualifications are created with employers to reflect the needs of the sectors and occupations they are designed to serve. They offer classroom-based technical learning plus industry placements to practise skills in-situ, with the new raft of qualifications launching this September.
Zac Aldridge, Director of Qualifications and Assessment at NCFE, welcomes the pledge of industry placements to enable students to learn about optical careers. He says: ‘It’s brilliant to see that awareness of T Levels is growing within different sectors.
‘Having Specsavers throw its support behind industry placements is extremely significant and the opportunities and benefits it will create for learners are clear to see. We want more employers to recognise and champion T Levels and I hope this initiative will be a catalyst for exactly that.
‘NCFE is the largest T Level awarding organisation and as we approach two years of these qualifications, it’s great to see them going from strength to strength. I’m looking forward to seeing their positive impact for years to come as more individuals fulfil their potential and progress to the next stage in their lives and careers.’
Specsavers is hoping its offer will encourage further education providers to offer the optical care services specialism as part of the Healthcare Science T Level, with any placements then running from 2024.