Specsavers is welcoming 510 optometry undergraduates into its stores this summer as part of its well-established student placement scheme.
It is the seventh consecutive year that the company has offered work placements to optometry students between their second and third academic years.
There are almost 800 second-year optometry undergraduates in the UK, so Specsavers is hosting nearly 69% of the cohort. Prior to beginning the placement, the students attend a two-hour development session at their university, focusing on team building and communication.
The placements, which are usually four to six weeks, are designed to help students put their theoretical knowledge into practice, prepare them for their pre-registration year and introduce them to Specsavers.
Lizzy Alport, 20, from Scarborough, is a student on the BSc Optometry course at Aston University. She is currently in the second week of a six-week placement at Specsavers Richmond (North Yorkshire). Her accommodation was provided by Specsavers.
She says: ‘It’s going really well so far – it’s both exciting and challenging and it’s great to be able to put theory into practice.
‘I spent my first week shadowing the optometrist and the dispensing opticians. I’ve done a few stereopsis and colour vision tests under supervision and am hoping to do some dispensing and pre-testing too. I’m getting to see a lot of things I wouldn’t see at university, as we test each other most of the time so we’re always looking at young and healthy eyes.
‘When there’s something interesting the optometrist lets me have a look with the slit lamp – for example, I’ve seen someone with cataracts, and in one eye they’d had the cataract removed so I could see the difference between a fake lens and a developed cataract. It’s also been interesting to see children’s eye tests.
‘The staff here are all very helpful, and it’s good to have the opportunity to ask lots of questions. The placement will definitely help me academically and I would certainly recommend it to other students.’
Nimesh Popat, director of professional recruitment and retention, says: ‘Our scheme is a staple part of the student experience now and is popular with students and universities as it gives a great insight into how our stores function. We are highly committed to student development and have significantly increased the size of our support team this year to ensure that students get an even better experience here at Specsavers.’
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