Behind the scenes of a retail optical apprenticeship at Specsavers

Posted on July 06, 2017
Author: Sam Reed

Day in the life of a retail optical apprentice - Meet Andy Taylor 

Why did you consider an apprenticeship and having done so why specifically Specsavers?

I did not have a clear plan for what I wanted to study at university so I did not see the point in going and studying something that I could not use to further my career prospects. After deciding I wanted to build a career in optics I had a look on the Specsavers careers website to see if there was any jobs available at the Ipswich store. At the time I was working with the Mygo Centre in Ipswich who were helping me find a job and providing me with career advice and support. As I was looking I found out that a representative from Specsavers would be at a careers fair so I attended the fair and that’s when I met Laura Roberds, who spoke to me about a vacancy as an apprentice. I considered the apprenticeship because there was no other way to ‘get my foot in the door’ so to speak. I considered a Specsavers apprenticeship because it was the opticians I used and because I spoke to Laura about my aspirations at the apprenticeship fair.

How was the application and selection process and the experience of joining Specsavers?
I applied online and filled out the application form, I was called by the recruitment team and they asked me a few questions and told me that I had been offered an interview at the Ipswich store for the retail optical apprenticeship. They gave me some advice on how to prepare for the interview and what time it was, where it was and who the interview was with. I was offered the job a few days later, I was informed on the phone by Specsavers recruitment again. I believe it was the same person who spoke to me the first time, it was nice to speak to the same person as before. I had a week induction with the in-store trainer before I started training on the shop floor, again it was nice to have the same person training me the whole time. The whole experience seemed organised and efficient.

How have you found learning with Specsavers?
I have always been very conscientious about my studies so it was fairly easy for me to transition from not being in education to being an apprentice. Additionally, the workload from my college course was much higher and was more theatrical written work, whereas the retail optical apprenticeship was more of a theory/practical mix which was a nice change. I was given plenty of time to complete my work and if I needed any help my assessor was easy to contact.

What thoughts and plans for your career do you have when you complete this apprenticeship?
I intend to complete Cert 3 and 4 as well as completing training courses with aspirations to become a dispensing optician. I have discussed my career aspirations with my manager and have worked out a 5 year plan and I was given some advice and some targets to aid me in reaching my goals.

What advice would you give to someone considering applying for an apprenticeship at Specsavers?
Do your research on the company before you go to the interview and be ready to ask questions back to show you are engaged and want the job. The apprenticeship does require hard work and commitment so consider this before applying. When you are on the apprenticeship make sure you have good communication with your assessor and managers at your store so that they can both help you succeed in the apprenticeship.

Read more stories from our apprentices here