Specsavers is the largest optical and hearing aid retailer in the UK selling eyecare services, eyewear, hearing aids and hearing protection. The company has over 1,490 stores and employs over 26,000 employees internationally. Specsavers ventured into hearing services in 2002 and has since grown to become the UK’s leading provider retailer of digital hearing aids, providing services from more than 440 locations.
To design and deliver a work-based staff development programme to qualify new practitioners for practice and to capitalise on this rapidly growing market.
The work-based Foundation Degree in Hearing Aid Audiology, designed to equip students with the key skills and knowledge required to register as a professional hearing aid audiologist, whilst working full-time.
The 20 month course is delivered by distance learning and is supported by seminars, lectures and practical laboratory workshops which take place during residential placements in purpose-built facilities at Anglia Ruskin. Each learner's previous experience is considered on a case by case basis and academic credit is awarded where similar learning can be demonstrated to have taken place in practice.
Those who qualified for practice with the previous entry standard, are able to top-up to Foundation Degree without undertaking the full programme. Since first launch the degree has been promoted more widely to other employers within the sector.
"We have been delighted with the way the University has worked closely with us throughout the development of this programme. We are convinced the resulting Foundation Degree is an excellent introduction to working within hearing care at this exciting time in its development, and equips new practitioners with the wide range of skills necessary for current practice.
"The demand for the programme demonstrates prospective hearing aid audiologists recognise its distinctive benefits. They also see that the ability to work productively while studying makes this a particularly attractive and cost-effective preparation for practice."
Gill Robinson, Director of Professional Training and Development, Specsavers