Specsavers Ballymena has provided a learning destination to a group of young people from the Northern Regional College on their Route2Work journey.

Nine students, aged from 17 to 19 years, visited the Ballymena store with their tutor, Vivien Carson, to learn all about the importance of having eye tests. The visit was part of the Health and Hygiene module of the year-long course which aims to prepare young people for the world of work.

Importance of eye health

Adrian Murdoch, store director, Ballymena, explains: ‘We were delighted to welcome the NRC students as we never tire of telling people how important it is to look after their eye health. Young people in particular who have no problems with their eyesight commonly think that they don’t need to have their eyes tested.

'But often eye conditions can be symptomless and can therefore have a long-lasting and damaging impact on the eyes if not identified. Also, young people who have uncorrected vision problems may not know what ‘normal’ sight looks like so it’s important that hidden vision problems are checked for.

'We just can’t emphasize strongly enough why eye health should not be overlooked and hopefully after their visit we now have another nine eye health ambassadors.’

Importance of educational visits

Vivien Carson, NRC tutor, added: ‘Educational visits are a brilliant way of making learning more real and relevant. Our students have mild learning difficulties and it makes such a difference to be able to meet people in their workplaces and experience at first-hand what they do and why.

'This course is all about helping our young people to gain skills and knowledge that will enable them to fully participate within their local community and prepare them for working life. We are very grateful to the team at Specsavers for welcoming us and sharing their expertise.’

World of work

Route2Work is a full-time one-year course delivered by the Northern Regional College in Ballymena. The course enables young people with learning difficulties or disabilities to work towards a Life Skills qualification and build on their literacy, numeracy and ICT skills to pursue further education courses or enter the world of work.

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