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. 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 with the company's goals. Highlight your competence Be prepared to…

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…

Specsavers rated “a great place to work”

The optical chain has qualified as a Great Place to Work-certified business, based on feedback from staff. At least 65 per cent of employees have to report a consistently good experience under the scheme, which assesses workplace culture. In the UK 80 per cent of those surveyed responded positively. Specsavers businesses in the Republic of Ireland and Canada, as well as manufacturing and distribution sites in Hungary and Hong Kong, have also qualified. The company is now accredited across four…

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…

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…

Exam results not what you hoped for? A career in eyecare can offer a bright future

The government in England is planning to reduce the number of top A level grades this year. Ministers want to return to pre-pandemic statistics, the proportion awarded in 2019. Scotland and Wales are moving more slowly. It may be bad news for some students, parents and schools. But if you miss out, there are still plenty of options for a rewarding career in eyecare. Whether you are into science and technology, fashion or engaging with people, there’s a great future…

Optical assistants seize the opportunity

More than 200 optical assistants at Specsavers have completed training as clinical technicians, qualified to carry out extra duties.  The scheme takes learners through diagnostic information gathering and pre-assessment procedures, working under optometrist supervision. Michelle Wilks, from the Headingley practice in Leeds, West Yorkshire, was the 201st graduate. Michelle says: “It gives you so much more understanding and I am able to support the clinics even better than before. I was already competent in performing delegated duties, but now I…