30 at 30 – Esther’s Story


With hard work and a passion for learning more, Esther Slade is the first graduate of our apprenticeship scheme to secure a position of store manager, aged just 21. As a rising star at Vision Express, we spoke to her about her accelerated career journey.

Can you summarise your Vision Express journey so far?

I graduated the apprenticeship scheme in 2017 with a Level 2, intermediate apprenticeship in health (optical retail), and I was appointed to a permanent position at the Bude store. I later relocated to work for the company near my family in Cwmbran in 2017. I really enjoyed my apprenticeship and the two years working in store, but I like a challenge and to put myself outside of my comfort zone, so I applied for the store manager position and was absolutely thrilled when I was offered it! I really enjoyed working as part of the brilliant optical team at Bude, so it’s great to be back and leading it. I’m very excited about starting this new phase of my career.

Why Vision Express?

I really wanted to work for a company that allowed me to develop a career. I was motivated by the fact it was so different to everything else other companies had to offer, in that there was so much to learn and opportunities to progress.

What has been a highlight of working at Vision Express?

Bude – it’s a lovely place to work. It’s a tourist town so some months are very quiet and others the opposite, but there’s never a dull moment here. Amanda Holden visited the store a couple of years ago and she was lovely.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I enjoy so many things, but mainly working with my team and developing myself, it’s a constant learning curve and I enjoy that because it means no two days are the same.

What’s the best piece of advice you were given on the apprentice scheme?

One thing that I remember being said to me was to give it everything you have and remember to take notes, so you can look back on what you’ve learnt.

How do you keep a work life balance?

I enjoy surfing in the summer, but now isn’t really the season for it. I live with my boyfriend and his family, and we have 2 cats and 2 dogs. I also enjoy visiting my family in Wales as often as I can.

What advice would you give to new apprentices?

Just enjoy it because you’re so well supported here, so whatever happens you’ll do well. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions more than once. It’s a constant learning process and everyone at Vision Express has things to learn, so never be worried about asking the same questions until you understand.

For more information about our apprenticeship scheme, visit https://www.visionexpresscareers.com/

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