“Specsavers gave me the opportunity to become a qualified optician”

Kevin is officially a qualified optician after he receives his diploma at a graduation event

20/11 2019 - Stores

“Specsavers gave me the opportunity to become a qualified optician”

Many of our colleagues came across Specsavers by chance – because they were looking for a job in a store, or because they knew someone who worked for us. So did Kevin: “I needed a job urgently, so I applied wherever I could. Specsavers was the first to call me, and I could start in the store in Leiden (a city in the west of the Netherlands – Ed.) right away. At that time, I didn’t know Specsavers offered so many development opportunities and that I’d be a qualified optician a few years later! But I’m not yet where I want to be: I’ve already planned my next step.”

The retail sector has always appealed to Kevin Rompa (29). Kevin worked at a supermarket for years, and when his contract wasn’t extended during the economic crisis, he knew he wanted to stay in this sector. Kevin: “When I started at Specsavers in 2014, it was the combination of the technical aspects and working with people that appealed to me in the optical profession. You need to solve problems, keep on thinking. That was different from what I’d done in the supermarket; there you just need to keep on going, it isn’t necessary to think a lot.”

“I started at Specsavers as a floorwalker and did various internal courses to get to know the optical profession and to get more responsibility. Then I decided to go for it and become a qualified optician – and now I’ve got my diploma! I like being an optician: you can examine five different people, have the same prescription every time, but still have five different cases. To see even more different cases and get a further specialisation, I’m now following a training course to become a contact lens specialist.”

His next step – after completing training courses to become both a qualified optician and a contact lens specialist – is already planned: “Since I work in the retail sector, I’ve always said ‘I don’t want to work for a boss all my life’. That’s why becoming a Specsavers partner is my next step. I’m planning to join the Partner in Development programme (an internal development course where store employees develop the skills they need to run their own store – Ed.) and ultimately become an optical partner and lead my own store. The good thing about the partnership is being your own boss but also having back-up if needed. You get lots of help from colleagues in the support office, and from other partners as well. It’s great that I get the knowledge and support I need to become a good partner – Specsavers takes a different approach than other retailers.”

On his journey to becoming a partner, Kevin receives support from Dennis and Pascal, the partners from the store he works in: “Last year they opened a new store, so I got to experience what opening a new store involves. I’m now also one of the store team trainers, which means I regularly provide training to my colleagues about new initiatives and products, as well as how we can improve the service level in our store, or sell more contact lenses. Dennis and Pascal encourage me to write a plan, discuss it and implement it. That’s very helpful.”

Group of men and women posing for the camera at an airport
Kevin and his colleagues pose at Schiphol Airport on their way to Barcelona, after winning a trip to the Spanish city in an internal store competition

“That’s also one of the things that surprised me the most about Specsavers as an employer. When I started, we were in the middle of the economic crisis. Employers didn’t want to invest in their people. Specsavers just did it and offered me the opportunity to become a qualified optician. Of course, you need to live up to the expectations, but all options are there: optics, retail, hearing. I’ve been able to develop myself and have much freedom and many opportunities. That is what makes Specsavers the best employer I’ve ever had. Also, the unity in the team surprised me. I didn’t feel I was a newbie – was involved in the team from the beginning and had the feeling I worked at the store for months after only one week. Despite the team becoming bigger, that feeling remains.”

Curious to learn more about the possibilities to become a qualified optician and work at one of our Specsavers stores? Discover all the opportunities at Specsavers.

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