Specsavers Buxton apprentice sets sights on rewarding career

Specsavers Buxton apprentice Amber McKiernon with joint UK managing director Dame Mary Perkins and Paul Marshall.
Specsavers Buxton apprentice Amber McKiernon with joint UK managing director Dame Mary Perkins and Paul Marshall.

A worker at Specsavers in Buxton has her sights set on a rewarding career in eyecare, after completing the opticians’ Optical Apprenticeship programme.

As the nation celebrates National Apprenticeship Week, 21-year-old Amber McKiernon is a graduate of the UK’s biggest government-accredited scheme which currently has more than 240 people enrolled.

Amber said: “I don’t think there’s a more effective and interesting way of building your knowledge and experience than an apprenticeship and best of all, in my case, it has led to a full-time position.

“I’ve learned so much in store and that shows no sign of stopping. I’m a store merchandiser and I’m currently studying for my Specsavers Cert 3 accreditation, which I’m thoroughly enjoying.

“Throughout my apprenticeship, not only did my colleagues in store do everything they could to help me balance my work with my studies, help and advice was always at hand whenever I needed it which was hugely reassuring.

“I would absolutely recommend the apprenticeship to anyone looking to get into the opticians industry.”

Specsavers’ one-year apprenticeship is open to anyone over the age of 16 and requires no previous optical experience. Those that complete it become qualified optical assistants with the chance of full-time employment at Specsavers.

The programme also opens up successful apprentices to further studying opportunities, with the potential to qualify as a dispensing optician within five years.

Specsavers Buxton store director Tom Rhodes said: “We believe that apprenticeships are a great way to unlock the potential of young people and provide a way for them to embark on successful and fulfilling careers.

“Our scheme benefits those who want to work their way up to qualifying as a dispensing optician. It’s also a great opportunity to give back to the communities we serve.”

The programme includes the completion of the Level 2 Diploma in Optics, monthly assessor visits, observations, online learning and courses. Apprentices also learn on the job, working in-store alongside eyecare professionals.

The apprenticeships scheme has been running for just over two years and 90 per cent of the apprentices take on full-time positions within the company.