Victoria Holt: From Technician to CLO

Victoria Holt is a Contact Lens Optician, who has been working at Specsavers for 12 years. She tells us about her career journey and the support provided along the way.

Hi Vicky. You’ve been working at Specsavers for a long time, how did you get to where you are now?

When I left school, I worked for an independent optician and started at Specsavers as a qualified SMC tech. I did the Technician role for two years and then decided I wanted a role that offers a better chance of progression – Dispensing Optician was where I wanted to go. Once qualified, I became Store Manager. I then completed the ILM 3 course and trained as a Contact Lens Optician, which was about 18 months ago now.

“The courses and support material made available to me was a really nice way for Specsavers to show their support in me.”

What support did you receive in your journey to become a CLO?

I’ve felt really lucky at Specsavers with the help I have received. When I applied for the contact lens course, Specsavers were doing sponsorship placements. The store paid for my exam fees, etc. which was great. They set up training days in Birmingham, and having those resources made available to me, helped massively. The courses and support material was a really nice way for Specsavers to show their support in me. My Store Director, Rachel, has been and still is fantastic. She basically started in the same way I have, from being a DO into a clinical role. Having her here as an example of what I can achieve is amazing.

Is that where you would like to end up, as a Store Director?

I might become an Optometrist – it’s certainly a great option. It’s a great route to get into Optometry from being a Contact Lens Optician, so never say never. But if it happens, it won’t be for a while, I love the role I’m in now. At Specsavers, you’ve always got such a good stepping-stone to something. Internal avenues at Specsavers are unique. There are not many companies where you can get that opportunity.

How has the COVID pandemic affected your day-to-day working life?

When you’re in a clinic, hygiene and washing hands, cleaning all the equipment etc. are standard practise, so the key thing that’s changed is the reduced chit chat with people, which I find strange. You know you can’t have as much of a conversation when you’re dealing with customers compared to what you might have done previously. You need to have as little contact as possible with the equipment as well. You just have to adapt to the way it has to be now, you just get on with it.

“As a company, Specsavers are very good at progression through the store.”

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to go down the same path as you?

I would say definitely go for it. As a company, Specsavers are very good at progression through the store. Whichever step you want to take, there is always a lot of support to get you to your goal. You have nothing to lose because, with Specsavers support, you get to understand the theory and general knowledge. That continual education is fantastic. It was a really excellent step for my life, and I’m pleased I’ve done it.

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