Ruth Gracey, a 22 year old student from Ballymena has just completed her second year of optometry at Ulster University in Coleraine and is now looking forward to a summer placement in Specsavers Ballymena getting hands-on experience.
Ruth explains, ‘For the past two years my BSc course has focused on visual health theory and getting to know all the equipment involved in assessing patients. The opportunity to work in Specsavers is now going to add an invaluable practical element to that learning and really bring it to life.’
This is the second summer that Ruth will spend time in Specsavers Ballymena. ‘Last summer I was fortunate to get weekend work in the Fairhill Shopping Centre store. This was great experience as I was able to see at first-hand how to interact with customers especially in this very busy store and what goes on behind the scenes at an opticians. I learnt all about the pre-screening tests and how to fit and make adjustments to frames which was an excellent introduction to practical optometry.’
Mix of healthcare and business
‘I began University studying cardiac healthcare science but gradually throughout my first year I became more drawn to optometry. I really like the mix of healthcare and business and now that I have completed two years of studying complemented by some time in Specsavers I know that I have made the right choice. There are so many opportunities within this profession and particularly within the local owner manager approach offered within Specsavers.’
Happy to host students
Valerie Penney, Store Director, Specsavers Ballymena, said, ‘We are always very happy to host optometry students for their placements. It’s not only a good way for us to invest practically in our profession but it’s also an excellent means for us to get to know potential future employees. Many of our placement students come back to us for their pre-reg year and we take pride in giving them what we consider as a great start in their career in optometry.’