Jottings: Choosing my own path

Victoria Holt SMC (Tech) FBDO CL

Victoria Holt

Ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March, DO Online shares the career progression story of contact lens optician (CLO) Victoria Holt.

Victoria has been working at Specsavers for the past 12 years. She started out as a lab technician, before progressing with her studies at ABDO College to become an FBDO qualified dispensing optician.

Since then, she has undertaken further training with the College to become a qualified contact lens optician (CLO). She talks about her career journey so far, and the support she has received from her employer and colleagues along the way.

“When I left school, I worked for an independent opticians before joining Specsavers as a qualified SMC (Tech) lab technician. I carried out this technician role for two years, and then decided I wanted a role that offered progression. Dispensing optician was where I wanted to go.

“Once qualified, I was promoted to store manager. I then completed the Institute of Learning and Management Level 3 course and trained as a contact lens optician, which was about 18 months ago now.

“I’ve felt really lucky with the help I have received, as Specsavers sponsored me to undertake the CLO course. The store paid for my examination fees, which was great. They also set up training days in Birmingham, and having those resources made available to me helped massively. The course and support material were a really nice way for Specsavers to show its faith in me.

“My store director Rachel has been – and still is – fantastic. She started in the same way I did – going from a DO into a CLO role. Having her here as an example of what I can achieve is amazing.

“I love the role I’m in. I feel I’ve always got a stepping stone onto something else – and I can choose the path I want. There are not many companies where you can have that opportunity.

“I tell people who are looking for some progression within the store to just go for it. Whichever step you want to take, there is always a lot of support to get you to your goal. With the learning team’s support, as well as encouragement from your colleagues, you will can put it into practice all that you are learning in the theory and general knowledge elements of your studies.

“That continual education is fantastic. It has been a really excellent step for my life, and I’m pleased I’ve done it.”