News

Embarking on a new career path in optometry

05 September, 2017
(l-r) Specsavers store directors Andrew Williams and Ellie Thomas-Wigley with optometry student, Nicola Helliwell (centre)
(l-r) Specsavers store directors Andrew Williams and Ellie Thomas-Wigley with optometry student, Nicola Helliwell (centre)

A former sales rep has returned to her hometown with a summer placement at the Pembroke Dock store.

Nicola Helliwell is currently studying for a BSc in optometry and vision science at Cardiff University - a three-year course she is set to complete in 2018.

Following her father’s footsteps

‘I was brought up in Pembroke, so the area means a lot to me,’ says Nicola.

‘My Dad, who was a GP, also had his own practice here so it’s great to be following in his footsteps and working in healthcare. Pembroke Dock has a very strong community spirit; locals want to build up a very friendly rapport which makes the day job that much more enjoyable and rewarding.’

Nicola is undergoing thorough training in all aspects of the business, putting her theoretical knowledge into practice and supporting the team by shadowing optometrists in clinic, registering patients, helping customers select frames and more.

She will start the final year of her degree in September before returning to the store for her pre-registration year, to enable her to qualify as an optometrist.

Nicola added: ‘It’s certainly a very different career. I really wanted to do more to help people and I believe I will do that as an optician - you can’t put a price on the health of your eyes. My background in science is certainly helping me and I’m really enjoying being part of the team here, meeting people first-hand and working in a clinical environment.’

Importance of development

Store director, Ellie Thomas-Wigley, says: ‘We were thrilled to bring her on board to further her practical experience, which will complement the learnings from her degree. Andrew and I place huge importance on nurturing and developing our team so it’s fantastic to have Nicola with us this summer.’

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