Outstanding apprenticeships grade for optical group

SPECSAVERS’ apprenticeship programme has achieved top marks, with an outstanding rating from the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted).

It is the only optical and retail training employer provider to have achieved this grade on the latest list of outstanding providers in England. Specsavers is one of eight employer providers graded as outstanding.

Group chief executive John Perkins says: “An apprenticeship will be the first step for many people starting a career in optics and we want to make sure that people joining Specsavers are given access to the best training and development from day one so they can realise their full potential. This report is a fantastic endorsement of the work of our apprenticeships team who have worked so hard to develop this industry-leading programme.”

The assessment commented: “Leaders and managers have very carefully considered and designed exceptional apprenticeship training to meet the skills needs of the optical sector.”

Specsavers offers three apprenticeship schemes

  • optical assistant (OA)
  • spectacle maker
  • customer service
Optical assistants

OAs provide great customer service, helping people choose the right products for eyecare and eyewear. They acquire a broad range of technical knowledge about prescriptions, spectacle frame materials and fitting to ensure the best product for the customer.

Spectacle makers

A spectacle maker or optical technician is trained and qualified to make spectacles. They work in an optical lab, which could be attached to a practice or take orders from different practices.

Customer service assistant

The first point of contact, welcoming customers and handling phone calls, face to face and written communication.

High quality

With more than 500 apprentices, Specsavers is one of the largest employer providers to have achieved an outstanding grading in England.

The Ofsted inspection highlighted the quality of training. “Apprentices receive extremely well-planned and monitored on- and off-the-job training. They benefit from excellent resources to develop new and existing knowledge, skills and behaviours and to support their practical learning at work, for example mathematics for optics.” 

Ofsted added: “Apprentices enjoy the very well-planned, frequent and supportive learning sessions with their coaches and rightly appreciate the positive culture of inclusivity staff have created. As a result, apprentices attend training and the workplace well and make very good progress towards achieving their qualification.”

Specsavers head of apprenticeships Dena Wyatt said: “The incredible apprenticeships team work closely with our amazing apprentices, practice colleagues and business owners to coach, guide and develop our apprentices to be the best they can be. They are our pipeline of brilliant talent and part of what makes us so successful,” she said.

“We are very proud to have achieved an outstanding grade, but it does not stop here. We still have so much in the pipeline to make our programmes even better.”