Our joint venture partners (JVPs) are key to making Specsavers the number one choice for consumers. We have helped over 1,500 partners worldwide to achieve their aspirations of becoming a business leader. Without them, we would not be the business we are today and we are committed to providing them with clear strategic direction and first-class business support so that they can deliver the very best service to our customers. The Specsavers joint venture partnership is based on mutual trust and understanding, values that also underpin the way we work with our colleagues and suppliers.
But do you know how you to become a joint venture partner and achieve your dream of running your own business? Below we reveal all.
David Martin joined Specsavers in 2010 and now heads up the team to recruit our future store leaders.
Hi David, tell us a little bit about your role and journey with Specsavers so far?
My team recruit the joint venture partners for optics, retail, hearcare and domiciliary across the UK and Ireland. As head of the team, it’s my role to create an environment for the team to thrive, recruiting the very best new partners for every opportunity, JVP is an aspiration for many - a destination in their career which effectively puts them top of the ladder as a business owner. For many, it’s the best move they ever made and we take great pride as a team in helping people realise that dream.
Our model is quite different to other set ups, how would you describe this in a nutshell?
Great things in business are never done by one person alone; in our case they are done by teams of people across our partnership model. Joint venture partnership is a unique opportunity within both optics and hearcare, unrivalled if sometimes imitated by our competitors. Hardworking optical and hearcare professionals run the day to day business, supported by a huge global brand and all our support services – this allows partners to focus on what’s most important - their customers and their teams. What sets us aside from the rest is our JVP model and Pathway programme, business owners waking up every day and pouring their heart and soul into their own Specsavers store. It’s the secret to our success and keeps us at number one.
You mention the Pathway programme above – what is this and why would someone want to apply?
Pathway is a program specifically designed to provide a knowledge and development platform for our optically experienced staff who aspire to be future JVPs. It is arguably one of the most robust and effective recruitment processes in UK retail. It’s a huge investment in recruiting tomorrow’s partners, as we know that JVPs are the heart of our business. After an initial application, telephone interview and assessment centre, candidates gain a place on Pathway – a six-month recruitment process which takes you through all of the elements of business ownership, from leading teams to driving commercial performance. We assess your leadership capability and skills, helping you realise your full potential on the way. During Pathway, candidates deliver a real-life project back in store to show they can walk the talk and deliver results for their customers, team and partners. Successful candidates then join our JVP waiting list, where my team will help find the right opportunity in the right place at the right time.
Do you have to work for Specsavers to apply for Pathway?
Yes – over 90% of all our JVP applicants are green blooded Specsavers employees. Pathway is exclusively available to Specsavers staff and is the most-trodden and most effective route to becoming a partner.
What advice would you give someone who may not currently work for Specsavers but is interested in applying for the Pathway programme?
Although the proven route to partnership is to work in our stores and undergo the Pathway process, you can still be eligible for partnership if you do not currently work in Specsavers. We regularly meet high-flying optical and hearcare professionals who are working for other employers but are keen to become Specsavers partners. For these individuals, we offer informal, confidential chats to define a tailored route towards partnership, which starts with an assessment centre.
What qualities do you look for in a Pathway candidate?
We are always looking for top talent to join Pathway. We look for highly motivated, driven, ambitious individuals who can take on the mantle of partnership – hungry and hardworking leaders – with a passion for providing world class customer service in their communities. We will help candidates realise their potential and become the leaders they were born to be – what we can’t teach though, is that passion and hunger to be a business owner. That has to come from within.
Are there any exciting plans coming up that potential applicants may want to know?
Right now, we are opening more new stores and hearcare hubs, plus we have a generation of partners, many of whom were our earliest pioneering partners, who are looking to retire and hand over the reins to a successor. This means that we have more opportunities to become a partner than ever before. If you are considering becoming a joint venture partner, the time is now!
And finally, what would your advice to students be who are about to start their pre-reg and interested in becoming a Partner in the future?
For many optical professionals, running your own practice is the pinnacle of your career. Becoming a joint venture partner is a dream shared by many, even at an early stage in their career. To give yourself the best chance of success, it is sensible to follow the most trodden path - working for Specsavers. Your journey to partnership starts once you qualify as an optometrist. It makes sense to immerse yourself in the Specsavers culture and business before you can actually run a practice of your own. With Specsavers' industry-leading professional development, nationally-recognised accreditations such as the Institute of Leadership & Management and with the support of the guys who have been there and done it - our joint venture partners, you can soon be on your way to realising that dream. As a partner, you are the master of your fate – you build your own team, look after your customers, serve your community, create an asset for your family’s future and reap the profits. All with the support from a successful global brand. Partnership is not a job, it’s a lifestyle. There’s no limit to what you can achieve. Let us help you realise your dream.
Listen to one our Pathway Graduate stories below: