Meet Kirsty | Dispensing Optician and Store Manager, Specsavers Plymstock

My name is Kirsty, I am a mum and wife to the two most important people in my life, my husband and our son, who have supported me through everything I have ever done – be it successful or unsuccessful they have been there for me. I am currently the Store Manager and also a Dispensing Optician in the Plymstock store in Devon. Before starting at Specsavers, I was at school and worked weekends and also during the school holidays in my parents Post Office/Newsagents in the Midlands, where I worked for about 18months until my parents sold the business.

I was attending an eye examination with my mum and our local Specsavers and whilst waiting I was reading through an application form for a weekend position at Holland and Barrett. The Store Manager of Specsavers asked me if I was looking for work, which I replied yes, and explained they had positions available for weekend work. She gave me an application and said if I could return it to her in the next couple of days as they were holding interviews later that week. Later that week I nervously attended the interview at Specsavers and met with both the store manager and the assistant store Manager who conducted the interview- a couple of days later the store manager phoned me and offered me a Saturday position. I commenced my employment that weekend.

I was studying at college for A Levels during the week but after approx. 6 months I decided it was not for me. I had heard about the career opportunities within Specsavers, in particular the Distance learning for the Dispensing Opticians Course, I chatted this through with the Store Partner at the time Brad Parkes – who explained to me about the course and the development opportunities that this could also bring. Having decided I would like to pursue this, Brad offered me a full time position within the store with the view to joining the course in September that year, which they would sponsor me to do.

I commenced the course in September 1999, in the summer of 2000 I took my exams and unfortunately I hadn’t quite made the grade, and despite resitting I still was not successful. So we decided to hold off for the moment whilst I gained more knowledge working in store with the view at some point to return to the course. In 2002 I moved to Devon, with my then boyfriend now husband and continued my employment with Specsavers in Cornwall Street, a somewhat much bigger store than I was used to which was a culture shock to me, but a really enjoyable one.

A position became available in the Plymstock store about 6 months later which I applied for and was successful, about 6 months later a position for Supervisor came up in Plymstock which I thought at this point I was ready for a new challenge- I applied at was successful. I learned a lot in this role about how to manage people, do 1-2-1’s, look at KPIs and really enjoyed the new challenges each day would bring. I held this role for about 18months and then I was given a new role of customer service manager as part of my development to further progress my knowledge and my skills.

In 2004 a position came up for Store Manager, which I applied and unfortunately I was unsuccessful, I continued in my role as Customer Service Manager, but asking for more responsibility and challenging myself to enable my development.

In 2007 I went on maternity for 9 months, upon returning back full-time, I continued where I had left off. Over the next year the position for store manager came up again, I applied again but again I was unsuccessful. Picking myself back up I learnt form the experiences and 6 months later the position came up again, and guess what, I went for it again. This time I was successful! In 2010 I was moved over to Armada way to further my development as a manager in a bigger faster paced store and was there for about a year when a position came up for trainee Dispensing Optician, I decided I was at the point in my life to give it another go and rose to the challenge, commencing the course in January 2011, working full time and being a Mum to a three year old, it had to be the right time.

I was then moved to Saltash in 2012 to manage the store there, this was short lived as I was reunited back to Plymstock in 2013 as the Store Manager and qualifying as a Dispensing Optician in July 2014. Since qualifying as a DO, I have completed ILM2 and ILM3, and then completed Pathway not long before Covid hit.

I think how Specsavers has helped support my development speaks for itself as I have been given lots of opportunity to progress my career in a professional capacity and also down the route of management to now being ready and approved for my own store when the right one comes along.

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