Clear-sighted Josie Loten has her eye on a fulfilling career in the optical industry – and she is urging other young people to follow her lead as an apprentice.
Monday sees the beginning of National Apprenticeship Week (5-11 February), with a wide range of Devon organisations providing opportunities for people.
At the Specsavers Exeter store, 19-year-old aspiring optometrist Josie is in the final stage of her Level 2 apprenticeship, having worked at the store for 13 months.
She says: ‘Being an apprentice has helped me find a career path, because I didn’t really know optometry was something I was interested in before starting the apprenticeship.
‘The apprenticeship is good because it helps you become more multi–skilled within the business by working in most of the departments, which enables you to gain experience and get an understanding of what is involved, as well as how to help customers and colleagues.
‘I’ve particularly enjoyed learning on the job because it’shelped me gain more experience and made me feel a part of the team. I always balance my study time with the work that’s needed of me.
‘The clinical side of the role is really great because it helps me understand the importance of the medical care we offer.
‘The apprenticeship has made me feel confident in the workplace, and now I have a full–time job which I know will help with my future aspirations – so I’d definitely urge others to do an apprenticeship if they have the chance.’
Josie’s early success comes as Specsavers’ apprenticeship programme achieved an ‘outstanding’ grading from Ofsted.
It is the only optical and retail training employer provider to have achieved this rating on Ofsted’s latest list of outstanding providers in England, and it is one of the largest apprenticeship–employer providers to have achieved an outstanding grading in England.
Emma Pope, store manager at Specsavers Exeter, says: ‘At our store we have had huge success with the apprenticeships programme. It really highlights to us the importance of developing local people for a bright future.
‘We are big advocates of “growing our own” and the apprenticeship scheme is often the first step in developing individuals and securing their future within the optical profession.
‘Josie is certainly developing key skills that will help with hercareer aspirations, and I know she will enjoy great success in the years ahead.’
The Specsavers Exeter store is at 248 High Street, or customers can call 01392 210604.
Got a news story, blog or press release that you’d like to share or want to advertise with us? Get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org