Lauren Smith

A TEENAGE eye-care expert is encouraging others to see straight after completing an apprenticeship with the high-street opticians, Specsavers.

Lauren Smith, who works at the Cribbs Causeway branch of the company, is celebrating the successful completion of her one-year optical apprenticeship, during National Apprenticeship week.

While at sixth form, Lauren decided that she wanted to work in healthcare so applied to the scheme after finishing Year 12.

The 18-year-old is now a training ambassador and merchandiser at the store, putting into practice everything she learnt during the programme.

She said: “I knew I didn’t want to go to university so when I found out about the apprenticeship scheme it was the perfect opportunity to combine some further study with on the job training. It was a really comprehensive programme and I learnt a huge amount which I am now putting into practice. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I would definitely recommend it to anyone. I received lots of support from my colleagues and I’ve now started my Cert 3 training to get my dispensing qualification.”

With more than 240 people enrolled on the scheme – the UK’s biggest government-accredited programme –Specsavers’ one-year apprenticeship is open to anyone over the age of 16 and requires no previous optical experience. Those that graduate become qualified optical assistants, and the programme opens up further studying opportunities including the potential to qualify as a dispensing optician within five years.

Specsavers store director, Gaurav Patel 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. Since the start of the scheme two years ago, 90 per cent of apprentices have been given full-time positions within the company.

For more information visit Specsavers at Unit 30, The Mall, Cribbs Causeway, BS34 5DG. Call 0117 950 3779 or  visit

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