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Paula Adamson – Specsavers

Paula tells us why she enjoyed our CIPD Level 7 blended approach

Introduction

We’re delighted that Specsavers’ Head of Learning & Development for retail operations in the UK and Ireland, Paula Adamson, chose DPG for her Level 7 CIPD qualification, after completing her Level 5 with us last year.

Tell us a bit about your role.

I joined Specsavers 12 years ago in a regional training role as a member of the team that I now manage. Since then, I’ve had six different roles including roles in management training and working with the new store’s team. Embarking on my Level 5 three years ago really helped to put a stake in the ground to show I was serious about career progression.

I currently lead a team of 45 L&D professionals who are responsible for delivering learning and development to staff in Specsavers’ stores throughout the UK and Ireland. We cover everything from optical training to contact lenses, product training and customer service.

Specsavers has become increasingly international since I joined. The company now has 17,000 employees and 1,500 stores in 10 countries, as far away as Australia and New Zealand. We used to be fairly UK-centric, and push most of our training out from the UK, but increasingly we’re looking at what’s working best in the different territories, and making the best practice core for the whole business, wherever that may have originated from.

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Why did you choose DPG?

I knew that I didn’t want to do something purely by distance learning, and looked at different CIPD providers who offered a blended learning approach. I really liked the fact that DPG offered such flexibility, both in terms of the time taken to complete the qualification, and that I could be flexible about workshop locations. I attended workshops in both London and Birmingham, which not only worked well with my schedule, but also meant that I had the opportunity to meet a wider network of professionals.

I completed my Level 5 CIPD qualification last August, and was keen to continue my professional development, and started my Level 7 in October. It’s sometimes challenging juggling work, family and studying, but the company is very supportive, and I know it’s going to be really worthwhile. I’m hoping to complete my Level 7 in two years, but it’s good to know that I can extend that if I have to.

What benefits did you get from your Level 5 qualification with DPG?

Aside from broadening my knowledge, it’s been great for networking and I’ve been really lucky with the people I met. Eight of us who embarked on the qualification together three years ago, who were working in similar roles, have built our own networking group. It’s a really strong group, and we try to meet up once a quarter to share ideas. And because I attended workshops in different locations, I’ve had the opportunity to dip in and out of other groups too.