A 30-YEAR career is being celebrated by the teams at Specsavers in Newport as they raise a glass to a dispensing optician who is now the director of two local stores.

Jason Williams is a familiar face in Newport as the director of both Austin Friars and Spytty Road Specsavers stores, and colleagues believe his story is an inspiration to others hoping to work their way up the ladder.

He was 21 years old when he started working for Specsavers Newport in 1991.

The store was previously located was on High Street and Mr Williams has travelled the near 50-mile round trip from Rhymney to Newport since he joined the business.

He worked his way up through the ranks over the years, qualifying as a contact lens optician in 1995 before being appointed manager in 1999.

In 2003 he completed Specsavers’ Pathway programme, enabling him to become store director. He has since led the business alongside co-directors Craig Mackenzie and Andrew Bowers.

Mr Williams said: "From the very beginning I had the ambition to be a director and knew Specsavers gave good career progression if you were focused and worked hard.

"After becoming director of the store in 2003, it was exciting to open up a second store on Spytty Road in 2012 with Craig and Andrew. Another major milestone was re-locating the High Street store to Austin Friars in 2016 to meet the growing demand for our services."

Under Mr Williams' leadership, the team of 10 staff back in 1991 has grown to 81 employed across the two stores. Working closely with Craig and Andrew, Jason has also advanced the service provided in the stores to include audiology services, clinics for low vision and a state-of-the-art hospital department, the Austin Friars Treatment Centre.

Mr Williams said: "I love everything about my job – and that’s probably why I’ve stayed with the Specsavers since I was young. I enjoy looking after our customers and taking care of the team – it gives me a huge sense of personal achievement."