Unique Ofsted recognition as Specsavers takes on 1000th apprentice
April 18, 2018
Specsavers has become the only optical retailer to have its apprenticeship programme judged as ‘Good’ across the board first time around by Ofsted.
The accolade comes shortly after a milestone for the programme with Madison Chancey, 21, joining Specsavers Brownhills as the group’s 1000th apprentice.
With just three days’ notice, the Ofsted inspection lasted for a week and saw seven Ofsted inspectors out in stores and support offices, observing training and assessment, reviewing data and evidence and interviewing a wide range of stakeholders.
At the end they judged Specsavers overall effectiveness in the delivery of apprenticeships to be ‘Good’, with a ‘Good’ judgement for each contributory grade too.
Head of apprenticeships Mark Corden says, ‘To put this into context, last year more than half (55%) of employers who deliver apprenticeships to their own colleagues either ‘Required improvement’ or were ‘Inadequate’.
‘We've achieved this through investment in our team to ensure we deliver a strong programme that stands up to external scrutiny and delivers the skills we need in our stores.’
Madison is one of almost 300 apprentices currently on various programmes in Specsavers.
Brownhills optometrist director Justine Page says: ‘Madison is incredible. Every day she arrives smiling and ready to take on whatever the day holds. She’s an inspiration and we couldn’t be prouder of her. We think that being named as Specsavers’ 1000th apprentice is the first of many milestones that Madison will achieve.’
Madison, 21, says: ‘I started studying music performance at university, but it wasn’t the right fit for me. When I fell ill and had to stop my studies, I saw it as a fresh opportunity to make a start on a real career pathway with the potential to develop and learn as I work. I’ve been a Specsavers customer for a long time, and every time I came into the store I would see the same faces – it was like a family rather than a team of colleagues.’
She continues, ‘It’s fantastic, every day brings a new challenge or a new experience and it’s really rewarding. I’m not sure yet which career route I will take when I finish my apprenticeship – I might continue to train and become a dispensing optician, or I could specialise in contact lenses. There are so many options, and I know that I’ve made a great choice in Specsavers.’
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.