Wigan apprenticeship

An eye for talent – realising the potential of millenials

A Wigan opticians is giving two aspiring local millenials the opportunity to gain vital life skills and the business know-how to succeed in the retail world.

Liah Brennan and Katie Burrows both aged 16 have started at the Specsavers Standishgate Shopping Centre store, where they will be completing a business and customer service apprenticeships respectively.

This is part of the apprenticeship scheme at Specsavers – recruiting approximately 35-40 apprentices every month across all varying sectors: retail, support office and frame and lens supply chain functions, covering such roles as optical assistants, customer service, IT, finance and property. This can be from entry level to degree-level apprenticeship schemes.

Mark Corden – head of apprenticeships schemes at Specsavers says: ‘We are passionate about our people, so we invest in our people. This is so that they can provide our customers and patients with the highest levels of service to complement our business model – to provide the best value and quality in eyecare. Apprenticeships equip our people with the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to have a successful career here at Specsavers.

Working with Specsavers has already seen both Liah and Katie grow in confidence, learn the ropes and discover new passions.

When Katie finished her GCSEs she was unsure of what path to take, but said she knew working for a big company was a great way to get her foot in the door. Katie is gaining experience in all aspects of customer service, such as meeting and greeting customers, booking in eye tests and carrying out pre-screening.

As some elements of the training are bespoke, and Katie has shown a keen interest for in-store merchandising, she has discovered new skills in this area and is now playing an active role merchandising.

Liah started a business course at her local college in September and during this time asked to work weekends at Specsavers to get some practical business experience in addition to her studies. After a few months working with the team at the Wigan store, Liah decided she wanted to embark on a full-time position.

Her role involves having close liaison with the store directors and includes administrative tasks such as preparing for meetings and interviews and helping the store to run as smoothly as possible.

Laura Gardner, store director at Specsavers, says: ‘We’re delighted to welcome both Katie and Liah, and they’ve certainly hit the ground running and made a big impression.

‘We strongly believe that by investing in the town’s young workforce, we are helping to encourage a strong, stable and productive local community while offering enthusiastic and talented young people, such as Liah and Katie, a great opportunity to gain invaluable experience and skills.’

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