Making work experience work for employers

Why offer work experience? Providing short-term placements helps employers reach the talent, different perspectives and skills that young people – or career changers – offer. It also provides opportunities for your staff to supervise and mentor, helping to develop their management, leadership and communication skills. Students bring the interests and needs of the next generation of patients and customers. Engaging with the community also helps boost your profile and customer loyalty.  Work experience programmes typically involve shadowing an employee and…

A day in the life – the contact lens optician

Wilma Paton is a contact lens optician at Specsavers in Saltcoats, North Ayrshire What's your role? I’m a dispensing optician (DO) and contact lens optician (CLO). I quickly knew that optics was my career when I first joined Specsavers Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, in a meet and greet role nearly 20 years ago. That developed into the practice manager role. I’ve been learning ever since to progress and support our patients.  I moved to Specsavers Newlands, in Glasgow, ten years ago…

Specsavers rated one of the UK’s best employers

Specsavers has been ranked 23rd in the top 50 best places to work  in the UK. This is the first time the high street optical chain has taken part in the Great Place to Work survey, a global benchmark which gathers feedback from members of staff.  At least 65% of employees must report a consistently positive experience before companies are certified by the scheme. In the UK, 78% of workers backed Specsavers.  They praised the opportunities offered to develop and…

Could you be a practice manager? 

Do you have a passion for healthcare and a head for business? Every optical practice needs a manager. Start as an optical assistant or qualify as a dispensing optician and you could go on to become the manager, running the day to day business. These roles will see you leading the team, overseeing the finances, and making vital decisions. You will need to be enthusiastic about eyecare and clinically-minded. Your focus will be on sales and customer service. You will…

New BTEC for optical assistants

Specsavers has created a BTEC qualification to develop the skills of thousands of optical assistants (OAs) working in its community practices.    The new Pearson BTEC Level 3 certificate includes units from the existing Pearson BTEC Level 3 certificate for optometric clinical assistants and dispensing assistants. Learners choose additional units to fit their roles, providing a tailored learning experience.   Jodie Glanville (pictured) is the first person to complete the new qualification, works at Specsavers’ Plymouth practice: “I use the knowledge I gained completing the Cert 3…

Get that job – how to succeed at interview

Getting a job in eyecare requires strong communication and interpersonal skills. The interview is crucial – a chance to showcase your qualifications and personality. Here are some top tips to help you succeed from Danny Alaimo, associate director at Vivid Optical recruitment consultants. Research Before stepping into the interview room, thoroughly research the firm. Understand their values, mission, and recent achievements. This knowledge will not only demonstrate your genuine interest but also allow you to tailor your responses to align…

Bright future – could an apprenticeship be for you?

Dena Wyatt, Specsavers’ head of apprenticeships, explains how you can take the first step to an exciting career. “Apprenticeships are a great choice for young people and career changers. They are a stepping stone into your future. They open the door. You get the opportunity to earn while you learn, to get a job and gain experience,” Dena Wyatt, Specsavers’ head of apprenticeships explains. Her advice to anyone thinking about their first career move – or making a change? “Look…

Celebrating apprentices with learning differences and disabilities

Virtual event, Monday 5 Feb 1pm–2pm Register here Join this webinar on the first day of National Apprenticeship Week to hear from disabled apprentices, and those with learning differences, sharing what works when it comes to supporting people with additional needs. Rabia Lemahieu of Disability Rights UK explains how employers can embrace diversity.

Earn while you learn – apprenticeships

National Apprenticeship Week in February highlighted that there's never been a better time to think about combining working and learning. You can get hands-on experience while studying for a recognised qualification – and earning a salary.  There are a range of opportunities in eyecare including apprenticeships for optical assistants for spectacle makers (lab technicians) in customer service in business Eyecare apprentices work in every size of business, from independent local opticians to nationwide or international firms such as Specsavers or…

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