An ambitious 20-year-old from Sussex is gearing up to graduate from a coveted apprenticeship with national optician Vision Express, which this year celebrates the largest graduating class in its history.
Sammy Ball has taken up a full-time post at the Burgess Hill Vision Express store after completing the 13-month employee-embedded scheme, which received a record number of applicants for its 2018 intake. Sammy has achieved a Level 2, Intermediate Apprenticeship in Health (Optical Retail), which is equivalent to five GCSEs.
Sammy never expected to find a career within the optical industry and found the role lit up her passion for customer service. “I love helping customers find frames they like, not just something they need.” she explains. “Seeing customers go away happy has made my apprenticeship really satisfying. Right from applications, the process made me feel supported by the Vision Express team.”
The apprenticeship scheme is just one way Vision Express is helping tackle the issue of youth unemployment in the UK. It was the first retailer to join The 5% Club, pledging to have 5% of its UK workforce comprising young people on structured training schemes over five years.
Matt Burton, Head of Learning and Development at Vision Express comments; “We are thrilled to be inspiring so many young people into an apprenticeship programme with Vision Express. Supporting people in taking their first steps into both retail and optical careers, has always been important to us and we are incredibly proud of Sammy, whose enthusiasm for apprenticeships is very genuine and contagious and we feel very privileged to be bringing the talent of the future into our business”.
Vision Express CEO Onur Köksal adds: “Apprentices are an important injection of fresh talent into our business, and we’re committed to supporting them through their retail and optical careers. We’re proud to be able to provide our own apprenticeship scheme that offers youngsters with a passion to learn, real opportunities to progress. Our apprentices have gone on to manage stores, become dispensing opticians and even study an Optometry degree, showing the breath of opportunities available.”
Managed and delivered by in-house optical experts, the apprenticeship scheme gives candidates the opportunity to earn while they learn, with assessor support and hands-on experience.
To qualify candidates must be at least 16 years old and not in full or part time education. For more information about the apprenticeships at Vision Express visit: www.visionexpresscareers.com