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Ofsted awards ‘Good’ rating for Vision Express’ in-demand apprenticeship programme

Press Release   •   Aug 23, 2017 11:12 BST

National optician, 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, saying: ‘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 by Vision Express optical experts.

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 19th 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.”

For more information about the apprenticeships at Vision Express visit:

Vision Express offers an eye test to best practice guidelines of the College of Optometrists (COO), with each Vision Express optometrist being a qualified eye health professional. To find your nearest Vision Express store and make an eye test appointment visit:

About Vision Express

Vision Express is one of the largest optical retailers in the UK and part of GrandVision,the global leader in optical retail operating in more than 40 countries, spanning over 6,500 stores and online.

With almost 400 stores nationwide, Vision Express first opened its doors in Newcastle in 1988. Built on a passion for the profession, it has gone from strength to strength, driven by a commitment to unparalleled customer service and providing the best individual optical care, the right product and great value. Customers can select from a vast range of genuine designer brands and the latest technology lenses, through to complete glasses from £39.

With around 4,500 employees, Vision Express makes a significant difference to the communities it operates within, and the organisations it chooses to support. As part of its commitment to Vision. Taken Seriously, and as a responsible and caring retailer, Vision Express is proud to partner with a range of healthcare charities, which have touched the lives of customers and teams. These companies provide vital support to people affected by vision-related conditions. They are part of the Vision Express Charity Project and include:

  • Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT)
  • International Glaucoma Association
  • Macular Society
  • Stroke Association
  • Temple Street University Hospital
  • Brake

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