St Helens Specsavers branch hailed apprentices impact

Jade Lawlor, Sarita Ainsworth ' the Assessor Coach, and Ryan Dillon
Jade Lawlor, Sarita Ainsworth ' the Assessor Coach, and Ryan Dillon
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Two apprentices at Specsavers in St Helens are starting exciting careers in optics thanks to an apprenticeship programme.

Ryan Dillon is currently completing the Specsavers apprenticeship programme and is encouraging others to get involved in the scheme. More than 270 people are currently enrolled on the Specsavers apprenticeship programme.

Ryan, aged 21, began his apprenticeship in 2017, setting his sights on a career in optometry. Inspired by his love of working with people and customer service, Ryan has impressed the St Helens store team and hopes to qualify this year as a full time optometrist assistant.

Now two thirds of the way through the scheme, Ryan said: “I chose to join the Specsavers apprenticeship scheme because the team are so professional and friendly. The best thing about it is being able to work towards a recognised qualification and get a lot of support in-store – I really feel part of a team.”

St Helens’ store director Thomas Lowry said: “Apprenticeships are a great way to unlock the potential of young people or those looking for a career change and provide a way for them to embark on successful and fulfilling careers.

“The Specsavers scheme offers learners an excellent opportunity to enter the world of work in a safe and structured way, providing them with a real job, great training and qualifications.”

The team have also welcomed Jade Lawlor, aged 17, who also hopes to achieve her goal of becoming a qualified optometrist.

Specsavers’ one-year apprenticeship is open to anyone over the age of 16 and requires no previous optical experience. Apprentices can choose to work as an optical assistant or take on roles in customer service or retail. Specsavers is also trialling an optical technician apprenticeship for those interested in working in a lab. Those that complete the apprenticeship will become fully qualified in those roles with the chance of full time employment at Specsavers.

Each course will include monthly assessor visits, observations, online learning and courses. Apprentices also learn on the job, working in-store alongside qualified professionals and becoming part of the team.

The apprenticeships scheme has been running for just over three years and 90 per cent of the apprentices take on permanent positions within the company, with 85 per cent undertaking further training.