Flexible working – your new rights

You can now request flexible working from your first day in a job, removing the need to have 26 weeks’ continuous employment. The move is just part of a package of measures changing the landscape for workers and employers. People will be able to make two flexible working requests every year, rather than one, under The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act. It came into force in April, covering England, Scotland and Wales. The Act cuts the time limit for employers…

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…

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…

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…

12 top tips: how to help a new employee succeed

You've drawn up the job description, you've advertised, you've interviewed and now your new starter is due to arrive. Taking on a team member is a big investment. How can you make sure they thrive in their new role? People who have a positive experience of their first few weeks will understand the company better. They will make stronger connections with colleagues, helping them settle in. A good introduction to the firm creates higher job satisfaction, boosts commitment, improves performance,…

How an apprenticeship works for us

Apprenticeships are a great way for trainees to earn while they learn and develop their career. Employers benefit from staff gaining skills and knowledge. Macey, an apprentice optical assistant at Michael Offord Optometrist – Opticians in Newcastle and Sam, the practice manager, tell us what makes their journey a success.   Macey, apprentice In September I started my apprenticeship with Woodspeen Training after being an optical assistant on a Saturday. I didn’t have a lot of knowledge about dispensing, spectacle…

For employers – how to get the most from work experience

It’s not just young people or career changers who benefit from work experience. Employers can use the opportunity to develop staff. They can act as mentors and reflect on their current role and future possibilities. Students bring new ideas and offer you a chance to engage with future customers. You are also building your contacts with potential recruits.  Offering a taste of the world of work is also about making a contribution to your community. Youth employment has not yet…

Spreading the news about optical careers

Tony Harvey is a STEM Ambassador, going into schools to tell young people about careers in optics Being an optician is a bit of a Cinderella job – careers teachers often don't know anything about it and most of the kids have never thought of it as an option. I visit schools and colleges to promote optical careers as a STEM ambassador (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). I get invitations to careers evenings, science workshops or interview training. You might…

Specsavers launches neurodiversity training

Specsavers is offering staff e-learning to help them understand the needs of customers with conditions such as autism or ADHD. The module is available for community practices as well as in support offices. 'With around 15% of people in the UK thought to be neurodiverse, it's really important that we all understand neurodiversity. Having this knowledge, and the ability to have the right conversations, will make a big difference,’ says Amy Cooper, co-chair of the neurodiversity colleague network group. 'The…

Five ways to support National Careers Week 2023

This week is National Careers Week 2023 (6-11 March) and it is the perfect time to promote the role of the dispensing optician and showcase other careers in eyecare. Here are five ways you can support careers week: Use your social media channels to highlight the role you have in eyecare. Tell your career story and share why others should consider a career in eyecare. If you have social media channels for your optical practice then you could share a…