Cormac McKiernan, a 21 year old student from North Belfast has just completed his second year of optometry at Ulster University in Coleraine and is now looking forward to a summer spent in Specsavers Connswater getting hands-on experience.

Invaluable experience

Cormac explains, ‘The first two years of my BSc course have focused on theory, understanding all aspects of visual health and familiarisation of the vast range of equipment used. I have been very fortunate to secure this 16 hour contract with Specsavers as the training given here enhances my university learning and provides me with invaluable supervised practical experience as well.’

This is the second summer that Cormac will spend in Specsavers Connswater. ‘In my first year at University we all had our eyes tested by the third year students. By coincidence the student who tested me was the sister of Paula Cunningham, the store director of Specsavers Connswater. She suggested I apply for a summer placement and I have had a part-time contract here ever since. Following a period of work shadowing, the Specsavers team introduced me to a range of specific tasks, provided me with detailed training in each and then allowed me to ‘fly solo’. I can now do all the pre-screening tests such as taking eye pressures and the fundus photos as well as dispensing single and multi-focal lenses.’

Global brand, local ownership

‘All my family work in some aspect of healthcare and I have always been drawn to optometry which has an interesting mix of health and business elements. It is fascinating how eye health can impact or provide information about many other aspects of a person’s wellbeing from indicating conditions such as high blood pressure to diagnosing more life-changing conditions like diabetes. I also like the way that whilst Specsavers is a global brand, the ownership and management of each store is local which makes the business so much more personal.’

Future employees

Lynsey Caldwell, store director, Specsavers Connswater, said, ‘We are always very keen to have an optometry student in-store. It’s not only a good way for us to invest practically in our profession but it’s also an excellent means of finding out who would be best suited as future employees. I am delighted that Cormac will be joining us once he graduates next summer for his pre-reg year and hopefully the beginning of a long career in optometry within Specsavers.’

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