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A dynamic partnership between skills providers TRS Training and Three Dimensional Training (3DT) is reaping results for optical giant Specsavers while setting the standard for collaborative approaches to delivering apprenticeships.

Specsavers is the world’s largest privately-owned optical group, employing 32,500 people in almost 2000 stores across the globe. They are committed to investing in their staff, recognising the crucial role they play in providing customers and patients with the highest levels of service. In line with this, their staff development portfolio includes a wide range of development opportunities, including apprenticeships for eligible employees and recruits.

Increased productivity and staff satisfaction

Apprenticeships offer new or existing employees the chance to develop new skills on the job, underpinned by off-the-job training which leads to industry-recognised qualifications. As a staff development vehicle, apprenticeships tick the box for many employers. Importantly, they lead to increased employee satisfaction and loyalty, higher productivity and cost savings.

St Helens-based apprenticeship provider, TRS Training is currently training and supporting 30 staff employed by Specsavers subsidiary Vision Labs. These employees are on an apprenticeship programme in Performing Manufacturing Operations (PMO) which gives them industry-recognised level 2 qualifications. TRS is a successful and experienced provider of apprenticeships in warehousing, logistics and business improvement, working with leading corporations across the country. TRS’s PMO apprenticeship focusses on developing improved productivity and performance in organisations. It provides Specsavers employees with relevant, industry-standard skills. For example, competence in receiving and checking incoming materials; controlling manufacturing operations; analysing, recording and reporting the results of inspection, as well as safety compliance and effective working relationships.

Promotion and progression

13 of the 30 Vision Labs apprentices have already completed the PMO apprenticeship as a result of their commitment and drive, as well as ongoing support from TRS Training and their employer. The majority has been promoted within Vision Labs, and many have progressed onto level 3 team leading apprenticeships delivered by 3DT. This higher level apprenticeship will give them management and strategic skills to prepare them for potential senior positions.

Staff development strategies

With experience in both commercial and government-funded training, 3DT offer expertise in supporting employers with highly effective leadership development strategies using the apprenticeship model. Working closely with TRS Training, they can offer a streamlined transition process for employees from PMO to team-leading apprenticeships featuring management qualifications. The collaboration between TRS and 3D takes away a lot of legwork from any employer wanting to develop long term staff development plans. Both training companies offer flexible services, delivering round the needs of the business and boast excellent success rates and customer satisfaction.

Career paths

Working together, TRS Training and 3DT help employers use apprenticeships as a driver of staff development strategy, enabling the nurturing of talent and potential in staff in ways that suit the organisation. This joint approach underpins the structuring of long term career paths for staff, rather than putting them on standalone courses or programmes delivered by different organisations.”

Amazing results

Bev Ellis of TRS Training points to the success of the tripartite partnership between TRS, 3DT and Specsavers/Vision Labs:

“It’s a dynamic, evolving process. We all have the same objectives – to provide Specsavers staff with the skills they need to have satisfying careers and boost productivity. Because we’re all working off the same page, there is significant efficiency and success in this skills project. The expertise of trainers in both TRS and 3DT combines with the organisational drive of an employee-focussed company like Vision Labs to generate amazing results.

“We’re very proud to be part of this progression-led approach to apprenticeships. In reality, it is only possible thanks to collaborations with employers who are passionate about investing in staff. And also, thanks to our training partner 3DT who is as committed as TRS to delivering the highest standards of training and associated service.”