Specsavers in Hounslow is celebrating after three staff members have qualified to become fully-fledged optometrists – just a year after another trio of work colleagues also passed the same optical course.

Keyuri Shah, Harneet Sidhu and Gurkiret Gholar finished a three-year undergraduate course to gain their BSc (Hons) MCOptom degrees in 2016, and have completed their final pre-registration year of vocational training at the Hounslow store under the supervision of qualified opticians.

Sim Gujral, store director at Specsavers Hounslow, said: ‘The pre-reg course requires a lot of hard work, so to have not one, but two sets of optometrists qualify the first time around in a year is an amazing achievement. We’re extremely proud of them all.

‘We take great pride in the training and support we offer to all our staff and we will continue to focus on developing and nurturing their skills to help us provide the greatest level of care to our customers.’

Preparing for the future

It comes 12 months after three fellow colleagues - Priya Raju, Neelam Sidhu and Pravir Marway – also passed the same training at the business on their first attempt.

All three optometrists are continuing their development and passed their Stage 2 WOPEC glaucoma exams in February.

Priya has since taken the lead in organising optom training. She said: ‘I’ve enjoyed organising our recent Peer Review. We also have B&L coming in October to do a refresher course on RGP contact lenses and we are about to start fitting mini scleral contact lenses.’

In addition, Neelam is looking to apply for independent prescribing to develop her clinical skills. She said: ‘The directors put me in touch with optometrists who have achieved independent prescribing and offered flexible hours so I will be able to attend hospital placements, which are a requirement of independent prescribing.’

Meanwhile, Pravir has taken a keen interest in the business side of optometry. He said: ‘At my appraisal, the directors asked me what I was interested in. I wanted to develop the business side - I was offered several options and am now looking forward to starting a business course soon.’

Keys to success

Ranna Rai, director at Specsavers Hounslow, believes the key to the store’s qualifications success comes down to ‘getting the whole team involved’ in supporting their pre-reg optoms.

He said: ‘We have developed a culture where the current team helps the next set of pre-regs.

‘It's not easy to run your own busy clinic and support three pre-regs but we have very committed and brilliant supervisors, Sandeep and Rekha, who give their own time by running through queries before their clinics start and after work.'

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