Today, Harvey Marshall is a qualified clinician and Specsavers Audiology Partner, running his own business and delivering life-changing hearing care for his community. But it wasn’t too long ago that he started his career with Specsavers as an apprentice. We spoke to Harvey to find out more…
Hi Harvey. Why did you want to start your career with an apprenticeship?
Well, when I was 15, 16, I knew that I didn’t want to go to university. I wanted to get into work and get started on the job, so an apprenticeship was going to be the best thing for me. I couldn’t justify the debt I’d get into it by going to university at 18, plus the fact there’d be no guarantee of me getting a job related to my studies at the end of it.
So how did you get your apprenticeship at Specsavers?
I wasn’t initially looking at Specsavers, to be honest. I wanted to be an electrician, so I went to my local store in Bicester to get a colour vision test done – which I failed. So that was the end of my career as an electrician! But I was told by the person who did my colour vision test that there was an optical retail apprenticeship vacancy at the store, and she encouraged me to have a look online and maybe put myself forward.
How was the apprenticeship?
I really enjoyed learning on the job. It covered lots of different areas and helped me to focus my career on the area I found most interesting, which turned out to be audiology. I completed a Hearing Care Assistant course, followed by a hearing aid dispenser foundation degree with De Montfort University, all paid for by Specsavers as part of my apprenticeship.
What’s been the best thing about doing an apprenticeship with Specsavers?
It gave me a lot of security early on, I think. I could save some money, my foundation degree was paid for, and through it all I had a job and was earning. But more than that, the support and encouragement. What’s so brilliant about Specsavers is the development opportunities that are there for you, right from the start. You don’t want to think, at 18, that this is the job you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life. You want to develop and progress. And you can do that with Specsavers.
You’ve certainly progressed! How are you taking to life as a Specsavers Audiology Partner?
Partnership is such a great thing. Stores are owned locally, and partners have the freedom to manage their business. But we’re clinicians first and foremost. I’m really enjoying growing the Audiology Hub at Bicester and seeing more and more patients.
What do you enjoy so much about hearing care?
When you have an unaddressed hearing loss, you miss out on conversations and get a bit imbalanced by it, or people pull back from situations where their hearing loss is apparent to them. That’s when loneliness and cognitive decline start to kick in. Studies have shown that unaddressed hearing loss in middle age is one of the biggest factors in the onset of cognitive decline and dementia. To be helping people to get back their hearing – their connection to the world – is so rewarding.