A Monmouth optician who put training on hold to raise her children is on her way to becoming a qualified dispensing optician after completing a certified optical dispenser course.

Nicola Sharman, aged 44, completed the qualification 27 years after beginning her career as a receptionist at an Abergavenny opticians.

She joined Specsavers in Abergavenny in a similar role before progressing to become a dispensing assistant and, later, store manager.

Career break

However, in 1999, she had her first child and had to put her training on hold while working in a part-time optical role. When Nicola returned to full-time work in 2001 she joined Specsavers in Monmouth, where she was able to carry on with her career development.

‘Having the option to pick up my training where I left off was such a relief,’ she says. ‘I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my child but I wasn’t sure how it would affect my career goals.

‘Despite this, and the fact I moved to another store, Specsavers appreciated the work I had done in Abergavenny and let me continue using the expertise I’d already developed.’

‘Career avenues’

Nicola will now start a three-year course to become a dispensing optician, and hopes to further enhance her career with additional training that will enable her to fit contact lenses and support customers with aftercare services.

‘There are a few optical career avenues I’m interested in taking, but it’s one step at a time,’ she says. ‘I’m looking forward to seeing where the dispensing optician course takes me.’

A word from the store director

Emily-Anne Frost, store director of Specsavers in Monmouth, says: ‘Nicola has developed long-lasting relationships with customers and staff in Monmouth since 2001, so we are pleased she has taken this exciting step along her career path.

‘Staff development is incredibly important here and means we can provide the best service to our customers. Nicola is a testament to this and I have no doubt she will be successful.’

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