Helping people further their career at Specsavers

Posted on December 11, 2017
Author: Sam Reed

Meet Tina Ketteridge-Allen -

Learning & Development Specialist

What was your background before joining Specsavers?
Dispensing Optician; qualified straight from school. My first job was working for an independent optician who also had the contract for safety specs for Ford car manufacturers in London and Essex, interesting shift work in the Ford plants! Went on to become a store manager for another independent optician who were then bought out by Boots (within the first year of Boots Opticians Ltd in 1987) I then had 2 children, in those days you only had 6 months mat leave. I worked part time until I moved from Essex to Devon in 1989. Once we had settled in I looked for part time work. I was phoned by Peter Hill director of Exeter Specsavers and asked when I could start and what days could I do (no such thing as an interview or contract! Just come in and start) I spent the next year locuming for the Exeter store and sometimes Exmouth store. I was then offered a ‘proper’ contract in February 1991.

In a nutshell, what do you do?
Develop our store managers, Hearcare Partners and Healthcall partners to be the best they can be, developing and improving their management and leadership skills. Within this remit is being a tutor for the Institute of Leadership and Management Levels 2 and 3 certificate and Management Academy programmes we deliver.

What does your typical day look like?
I know everyone probably says it but there are never 2 days the same! Even if I am delivering the same programme because every group is unique, each session is different, it’s part of the fun, adapting to individual’s needs. I also design and write some of our programmes, I find this the most exciting area of all, seeing something that starts with a business need grow and mature into a full blended learning programme. Three days out of five I am out on the road delivering workshops or attending team meetings (I just attended the South West divisional Lab Managers meeting to deliver a 2 hour development session on effective 121’s) I also deliver virtual classroom training (webinars), one new area is for our Healthcall partners development, starting at 6.30pm to fit into their hectic schedule. I also recently attended Professional Advancement Conference (PAC) in Birmingham representing L&D with some of my colleagues; to say we were inundated would be an understatement! There is a real hunger out there for self-development.

What makes you most proud of your time at Specsavers so far?

  • Receiving my 25 years’ service which included a beautiful silver picture frame, a nice tax free cash bonus, champagne and best of all a personal video message from Dame Mary.
  • Seeing people I trained on induction as new optical assistants, supervising them through the Dispensing Optician course, developing them as managers and helping them further their career with Specsavers to become amazing store partners
  • Helping to develop the ILM programme from its beginning through to where we are now on the brink of launching our new management apprenticeship programme.

How have you developed?
I have developed and grown in line with Specsavers, seeing many changes along the way. I have had several roles where I am the ‘first’ i.e one of the first groups of in-store trainers (circa 1996) one of the first Regional development managers – RDM (Circa 2000; originally the first support team people to go into store, it was a combined RTM & RRM role) one of the first management specific Training and development managers-TDM (Circa 2008, evolving into my current role) I hope I will have the opportunity to be one of the first again, who knows?

What do you love about your job? What is a challenge?
I love the people, my colleagues and my customers. The support I have been given while I was waiting for 9 years for my kidney transplant. Every day can be a challenge, it is part of what I love, just to know I have made a small difference somewhere in the now massive cogs that make up Specsavers. As I use crutches to walk carrying equipment, getting the right type of accommodation and getting up and down stairs are a daily challenge.

Describe the Specsavers culture in three words
Hard working family.

What advice would you give someone looking to join Specsavers?
Go for it and join the family, be ready for a challenge every day, always look forward and learn from what has been before.

Read more stories from our employees here