Class of 2016 Vision Express Apprentice Graduation at Vision Express HQ
Vision Express is celebrating acclaim for its popular apprenticeship programme after improving its Ofsted rating to ‘Good’ following an inspection in July.
Vision Express, which currently provides an Intermediate (level two) Apprenticeship in Health (Optical Retail) to 30 learners, received the positive rating across all areas of the education standards regulator’s report. These include: effectiveness of leadership and management; apprenticeships; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; personal development, behaviour and welfare; and outcomes for learners.
The report commends Vision Express, stating: ‘Apprentices receive good support and care that help them to succeed to their full potential,’ and ‘apprentices receive good-quality training. Consequently, apprentices develop a wide range of technical and personal skills that reflect good industry standards.’
Equivalent to five GCSEs, the 13-month employer-embedded scheme is managed and delivered in-house. Apprentices are given the opportunity to earn while they learn, with assessor support and hands-on experience to help them develop a wide range of industry-standard optical retail skills and knowledge. Since launching in 2014, over 100 apprentices have successfully completed the scheme and gained a nationally-recognised qualification in optical retail. Almost all learners have secured permanent positions with Vision Express, and several qualified apprentices have advanced in to lower level management roles, or have been sponsored to obtain further professional qualifications, after completing the programme.
Kate Clayton, HR Director at Vision Express, said: “We are very proud to be officially recognised for our commitment to delivering high-quality training to our learners through our apprenticeship programme. Receiving a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating is fantastic and demonstrates that our apprentices are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to pursue a wealth of career opportunities. We are now looking forward to welcoming the next intake of ambitious talent during the next few months as the scheme continues to grow in popularity.”
Over the past three and a half years, the Vision Express apprenticeship has received over 5,500 applications, with an average of 46 applicants for each post from people aspiring for a career in the eye health field.
The next apprenticeship intake starts on 19 September, followed by another intake starting at the end of November. To qualify, candidates must be at least 16 years old and not in full or part-time education.
Jonathan Lawson, CEO of Vision Express, concluded: “Vision Express is a growing company offering unique and diverse career potential, and apprentices will continue to play an important part of our recruitment strategy. We have a clear and ambitious vision for apprenticeships and have closely aligned the programme to our business priority of recruiting retail staff to work across our approximately 400 stores nationwide.”