Leon joins the team as our newest apprentice

It’s an exciting time for Respectacle Company Opticians because our little optical store is growing. Earlier in the year we advertised for an apprentice to join the Respectacle team. And with the help of Salad Skills, we were able to find a suitable candidate to fill the role of optical and retail assistant apprentice. So we’d officially like to take a moment to welcome Leon to the team!

We sat down with Leon and asked him a few questions about his time with us so far.

What was it that interested you about the apprenticeship position?

Well, I left school with a handful of qualifications and I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do next. I came across an advert for the apprenticeship position online and it interested me because it was working in customer services. I’m a friendly person and a bit of a social butterfly. I love meeting and talking to people, and I thought I would be good at the job.

The position was advertised with Salad Skills, I applied and they brought me in for an interview. The team at Salad Skills seemed to think I would be suitable for the role, so they put me through and arranged a meeting with Alison. During the interview, Alison asked me all sorts of questions to see whether I would be a good fit to join the team.

What is it that you like about working at Respectacle Company?

Probably the people. The interview with Alison went really well, and pretty much straight away I knew I would like working at the opticians. Everyone seemed really nice and friendly. So I was really pleased when I was offered the position. It’s such a funky shop, and the glasses are so cool. I love interacting with the customers and I’m already learning a lot.

How was your first day?

My first day was my trial shift and to be honest I felt quite nervous to begin with. But all of the team are really friendly and helpful, and explained that no one expects me to know everything straight away. Which put me at ease. I’m keen to learn but it’s a totally different environment to being at school and I had moments where I felt overwhelmed. But I never feel any pressure and already I have been taught more than I would have ever imagined. I have picked up a lot just by watching the other members of staff.

It’s been a bit daunting to talk to customers and help them with frame choices, but day by day I become more confident and comfortable talking about glasses. I have also been able to start answering the phone and booking people in for their next appointments. Learning to become more professional while talking to customers is a challenge, because there’s a huge difference between communicating with my friends at school and talking to customers.

What would you say to anyone considering an apprenticeship?

For me one of the best things about an apprenticeship is that you get to earn some money and learn new skills at the same time. Working at Respectacle Company is giving me some really good experience of the real world, and skills and knowledge that I need to be successful in the workplace.

The skills I’m learning now are going to be vital for my future. Although I’m not 100% sure what I want to do in terms of a career, I’m a people person and so it’s likely to be something customer services related.

And finally, how do you feel about becoming Respectacle Company’s unofficial eyewear model?

It’s cool, it’s a lot of fun. I’m pretty comfortable having my photo taken. Although I don’t wear glasses, seeing all these funky cool frames makes me wish I did. So as well as retail and optical assistant apprentice, I can add eyewear model to my CV too!

To Find out more about apprenticeships learning and development skills please see Salad Skills website at www.saladskills.co.uk