Gorinchem/Eindhoven 15 January 2021 - Today, the Hans Anders optician chain, the Eindhoven Summa College, and NCVB Bedrijfsopleidingen signed a cooperation contract for the new vocational training programme 'Opticien Bbl Mbo 4'. In this innovative company training course, students not only learn the eye-measuring discipline of an optician, they also learn the intricacies of contemporary retail trade. As a result, the training is optimally aligned to what opticians need today and in the future to help their customers see well and look good.
Of course, Summa College students learn everything there is to know about optics. From quality eye measurements and tests to technical and material knowledge and styling advice. But Hans Anders believes it is important that they also learn how to provide their customers with the best advice and excellent service at every stage of their 'customer journey'. From orientation to measurement, from sales to after service, both in the shop and online. So, they become a first-class optician as well as a successful retailer.
From 'Day 1' onwards, the students are employed by Hans Anders and get to know the brand, values, and company culture of 'Working and Growing Together' from the inside. Being an optician is a versatile profession, where (para) medical and fashion meet as well as entrepreneurship and customer-oriented commerce. Anyone who chooses Summa College's innovative Optician Vocational Training Programme, simultaneously chooses a career with the most dynamic eyewear and hearing aid retail chain in the Netherlands. This is because the students - in addition to their job at Hans Anders - attend school one day every fortnight and learn the trade in practice. Hans Anders also provides part of the training internally. As a result, the legally recognised diploma that normally takes three years, can be attained in just one and a half years.
Summa College will train large groups of staff to become opticians for Hans Anders. From left to right – Instructor Joyce Bogers, team leader Esther Maes, and student Tamara Ririmasse © Jean Pierre Reijnen/DCI Media
Esther Bodde, HR Director at Hans Anders, expects that the optical sector will continue to grow significantly in the coming decades: 'With more than 9 million spectacles wearers and an ageing population, that's a no-brainer. At the same time, a successful optician is no longer an uninteresting person in a white coat, but a modern retailer. And glasses have become fashion and lifestyle products besides being medical aids. But the main difference with the past is that customers no longer act like patients but as consumers. They want attractive, high-quality products and perfect service at a competitive price. So, there is a demand for future-oriented training for a new generation of opticians.
CEO Bart van den Nieuwenhof: 'At Hans Anders, we want to offer motivated colleagues the chance to get the best out of themselves and give them a (second) chance to become a specialist. Personality, drive, and life experience are just as important to us as, for instance, prior education. Hans Anders is for everyone and wants to be there for everyone. So, I'm pleased that we were able to bring about this unique vocational course jointly with Summa College and NCVB Bedrijfsopleidingen.'
Henk Slagt, member of the Summa College board of governors: 'We already have two regular vocational courses for opticians and we're happy and proud that we were able to add this business course specifically for Hans Anders' staff and trainees. This training focuses on the retail practice of the market leader and the customer experience that Hans Anders customers appreciate so much.'
The first class of fifteen students all already employed by Hans Anders will start in February and are expected to receive their diplomas in the summer of 2022. A second group will start soon because the enthusiasm for this course is very high. After completing the pilot phase, the training programme will also be opened to ambitious people who want to learn a trade with a future at Hans Anders. The programme is for young people or people who have been working for a while but are ready for a change. These people love to make a difference for customers and have a passion for optics, technology, fashion, and retail.
The Hans Anders Retail Group is a successful value-for-money retailer in eyewear, contact lenses, and hearing aids. It offers high quality products at competitive prices. Hans Anders has more than 400 shops in the Netherlands and Belgium. The chain Eyes + More, with 170 shops in Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Austria are also part of the Hans Anders retail group. In Sweden, the Hans Anders Retail Group operates under the brand Direkt Optik with 40 shops.
Summa College consists of 26 secondary vocational education schools and has over 17,000 students. Summa offers more than 300 vocational courses in different learning programmes and at different levels. Summa distinguishes itself with active and personal student counselling.
NCVB Bedrijfsopleidingen provides nationally recognised vocational courses. Jointly with vocational education institutions, NCVB developed customised training models at MBO (secondary education) levels 2, 3, and 4 for more than 100 medium-sized and large companies in various sectors. These are intake and transfer programmes that are always accelerated courses.