New BTEC for optical assistants

Specsavers has created a BTEC qualification to develop the skills of thousands of optical assistants (OAs) working in its community practices.    The new Pearson BTEC Level 3 certificate includes units from the existing Pearson BTEC Level 3 certificate for optometric clinical assistants and dispensing assistants. Learners choose additional units to fit their roles, providing a tailored learning experience.   Jodie Glanville (pictured) is the first person to complete the new qualification, works at Specsavers’ Plymouth practice: “I use the knowledge I gained completing the Cert 3…

Get that job – how to succeed at interview

Getting a job in eyecare requires strong communication and interpersonal skills. The interview is crucial – a chance to showcase your qualifications and personality. Here are some top tips to help you succeed. Research Before stepping into the interview room, thoroughly research the firm. Understand their values, mission, and recent achievements. This knowledge will not only demonstrate your genuine interest but also allow you to tailor your responses to align with the company's goals. Highlight your competence Be prepared to…

How to find work experience

Work experience is a great way to get a taste of a future career and find out what avenues might suit you. But it’s important to start your research soon – lots of other students are looking at the same time so opportunities can go fast. How can you find the right opening?  Your tutors will be able to advise you on common routes and connections to employers. But that doesn’t mean you need to stick to their contacts. For…

The teachers’ guide to careers in eyecare

The optical world is less well known than other branches of healthcare. But it offers a range of rewarding careers, for people with all kinds of talents and interests. Some roles offer recruits the chance to earn while they learn, while qualifications include apprenticeships, diplomas or degrees. From healthcare to fashion, technology to retail, management, design or manufacturing, there’s an eyecare role for everyone. We’ve got a whole host of resources for students and teachers.  Careers in eyecare lesson plan …

Find out what it’s like to work in a hospital 

Are you interested in a healthcare career in a hospital? The University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton are offering students in Years 12 and 13 the opportunity to apply for live virtual work experience. Brighton and Sussex Medical School also offers virtual work experience without any application. At the University of Southampton, a typical timetable usually includes:  Operating theatre Ward rounds Outpatient clinic Wessex Investigational Sciences Hub (WISH) laboratory Apprenticeship opportunities  A chance to to speak to current medical…

What jobs can you do with an optometry degree? 

If you’ve just started your degree, are going into the final year or are doing A levels, you may be wondering about your career options. Becoming a community optometrist is the obvious choice, but there are a wide range of pathways out there.  Domiciliary optometrist These are optometrists who visit patients in their homes, schools, care homes or community centres. Your patients may have medical conditions, physical or learning disabilities, so you should be flexible and able to adapt your…

Exam results not what you hoped for? A career in eyecare can offer a bright future

The government in England is planning to reduce the number of top A level grades this year. Ministers want to return to pre-pandemic statistics, the proportion awarded in 2019. Scotland and Wales are moving more slowly. It may be bad news for some students, parents and schools. But if you miss out, there are still plenty of options for a rewarding career in eyecare. Whether you are into science and technology, fashion or engaging with people, there’s a great future…

Plymouth Uni optom taster day 2023

Optometry taster day inspires school students

Students from schools across south west England took part in a taster day in April, designed to inspire them to consider a career in optometry. The 50 pupils, from years 10 to 13, met academic staff from Plymouth university’s optometry programme, attended mini lectures on eye anatomy and visual processing, and had the opportunity to take part in a practical session using equipment in the optometry lab, including video slit lamps. A much broader career They also met current students,…

Starting from scratch

Megan never planned to become a dispensing optician. Now she’s on course to become fully qualified in a professional career. She applied for a job at Specsavers Fox Valley practice in Sheffield in her year out before going to university. She had planned to study forensic science. “I had no idea what working at an opticians involved as I’d never had an eye test myself,” Megan says. She quickly realised she’d found her passion. “As I grew more comfortable with…

Specsavers launches neurodiversity training

Specsavers is offering staff e-learning to help them understand the needs of customers with conditions such as autism or ADHD. The module is available for community practices as well as in support offices. 'With around 15% of people in the UK thought to be neurodiverse, it's really important that we all understand neurodiversity. Having this knowledge, and the ability to have the right conversations, will make a big difference,’ says Amy Cooper, co-chair of the neurodiversity colleague network group. 'The…