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Vision Express Class of 2016 apprentice graduates have sights set on a bright future

Press Release   •   May 05, 2016 12:04 BST

The Class of 2016 graduate from the Vision Express apprenticeship scheme

Young apprentices honoured as they graduate from in-demand scheme attracting 50 hopefuls per place

Twenty two hard-working apprentices are celebrating after graduating from an in-demand programme offering diverse career opportunities with national optical retailer Vision Express.

Vision Express has been deluged by over 4,500 applications to date, with this year's apprentices beating off competition from an average of 50 applicants for each coveted place. The 13-month employee-embedded scheme is paying tribute to the Class of 2016, which represents only its second group of graduates.

Each has qualified with a Level 2, Intermediate Apprenticeship in Health (Optical Retail), which is equivalent to five GCSEs.

The apprentices were recognised in an official graduation ceremony at the Vision Express Nottingham Support Centre.

All of them will continue their careers in Vision Express stores across the country.

Vision Express human resources director Kate Clayton honoured the group, which has taken the number of apprentices to 120 and counting. She said: "It's great to once again bring such young talent into the business. People are the lifeblood of any retailer and the first impression of the organisation to its customers.

"We place great value on our apprentices and it's a testament, both to them as ambitious individuals and the scheme itself, that all of the graduates are staying with the company. To be chosen from an average of 50 applicants per place is a huge achievement and I'm proud of every single one of the Class of 2016."

The apprenticeship scheme is just one way Vision Express is helping tackle the issue of youth unemployment in the UK. It was the first retailer to join The 5% Club, pledging to have 5% of its UK workforce comprising young people on structured training schemes over the next five years. Currently Vision Express has reached the 4% point, and is on target to surpass this benchmark.

A total of 120 apprentices have been placed at Vision Express since the scheme launched. Managed and delivered by in-house optical experts, it gives candidates the opportunity to earn while they learn, with assessor support and hands-on experience.

The next apprenticeship intake starts in June, with applications now open. To qualify candidates must be at least 16 years old and not in full or part time education, with a great attitude and aptitude to learn.

A specially-commissioned video charting the experiences of Vision Express apprentices is available to view here.

For more information about the apprenticeships at Vision Express click here.

About Vision Express

Vision Express is the third largest optical retailer in the UK and part of GrandVision,the global leader in optical retail operating across 43 countries, spanning over 5,800 stores and online.

With more than 390 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.

Vision Express is considered one of the leading and most trusted opticians in the UK and Ireland, with its European offering supported through sister eye care brands Grand Optical, Solaris and Generale D'Optique.

With around 4,000 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:

  • Alzheimer’s Research UK
  • Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT)
  • International Glaucoma Association
  • Macular Society
  • Stroke Association
  • Temple Street University Hospital.

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