In this brief series celebrating the impressive successes of our apprentices, you will discover there’s more to the 13-month programme than life-experience and learning. It’s about finding your passion and creating the foundation for a brilliant career.
Toby Fisher started at Specsavers with a Saturday job in store, getting to know how the store ran and learning how the optical profession worked.
After completing his GCSEs, he started his apprenticeship at 16
I had always wanted to be an optometrist, and after initial thoughts of going to Sixth Form and studying A-levels, I found that through an apprenticeship, I could work my way up to be an optometrist. After consideration and discussion with my colleagues, directors, and family, I took my store role full time to undertake the apprenticeship programme.
It was an excellent launchpad to the optical industry, with so many choices of roles to move into after completion. It lasts 13 months, but covers every area of the store, from pre-testing customers, dispensing glasses, to contact lens admin. The range of tasks in store really kept me engaged, and the year flew by!
Guided and supported throughout the programme
The support was excellent – I wouldn’t change a thing! They assigned me an assessor who stayed with me throughout the entire programme and helped me through any queries I had with my coursework or store work. My managers arranged for me to spend time with more experienced colleagues, who supported me in my learning of tasks in store. I knew that if I ever required guidance, there was always somebody willing to help.
And experienced a mix of practical on-the-job training alongside coursework
The apprenticeship requires no previous optical experience and, as I did, you can start straight out of school. Every week, they gave me 4 hours of learning time away from the shop floor to complete my coursework and assignments set by my assessor. I had regular video calls with my assessor to track my knowledge and learning progression, and these helped to improve my skills and to set targets for the future.
There’s been no stopping him since completing the programme
The apprenticeship offers excellent career progression, both managerial and professional development. After completing my apprenticeship, I became the in-store trainer, and I am now the store’s assistant manager. I am currently completing the Cert 4 programme, with plans to study Ophthalmic Dispensing to become a Dispensing Optician.
I am enjoying the management side of my role as I really like to support others with their development and training. There are so many chances for progression, and I know I have the support of my directors and colleagues when it comes to the next stage of my career.
If you want to learn more about apprenticeships, click here or search for a vacancy.