Specsavers in Stroud is offering advice to youngsters and raising awareness of the opportunities for young people in the area to pursue a career in optometry.

Engaging local youngsters

Rizwan Choonara, store director at Specsavers on Kings Street, is aiming to encourage local students to consider optics to help counter the shortfall of optical practitioners in the area. By offering advice and information to youngsters, he hopes to ensure that more students consider a career in optometry as they choose their GCSE and A-Level subjects.

‘The skills shortage is a problem across the industry at the moment, but especially in localised areas,’ said Rizwan. ‘Optometry is an interesting and rewarding career path which can offer so many prospects and opportunities for home-grown talent. We want to make sure that local students consider optics as they make their choices.

Supporting staff

‘It’s always fantastic to support young optometrists from the area as they pursue their careers. We have a strong commitment to ensuring staff reach their potential, and development through exams and courses is key to this. We have several members of staff who have we surprised with a novelty cake to celebrate their recent exam success – both from the local area.

‘Naheema and Kobi just prove what hard work can do, and we’re always on the lookout for new talent and apprentices to join the team.’

Rizwan commissioned the eyeball cake to present to Naheema Akhter and Cobi Williams, after they passed their optical exams. Naheema has become a fully qualified optometrist after passing her exams after a year as a pre-registration optometrist, while Cobi has graduated to dispensing optometrist (DO).

Getting into optics

Generally, to become an optometrist, at least five GCSEs (A-C) are required, including English, maths and science, plus three A levels (with at least two in science-based subjects). Students go on to gain a BSc (Hons) degree in optometry, then complete a one-year pre-registration, which is a salaried and supervised work placement with a registered optometrist, before sitting the General Optical Council (GOC) final assessment to become fully registered.

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