The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in April 2017. It is a levy on UK employers to fund new apprenticeships. The levy is charged at 0.5% of a company’s pay bill if the company has an annual pay bill of greater than £3 million. Each employer will receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment. Further information is available on the government website.
In February 2018 the Institute for Apprenticeships approved an Optical Assistant Apprenticeship standard at level 2. You can find more details here.