Twenty-nine Australian Specsavers dispensers celebrated the completion of the Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing (Cert IV) at a graduation ceremony held on 5 April, with three Specsavers dispensers recognised for their academic excellence.

The graduation ceremony was hosted by the Australasian College of Optical Dispensing (ACOD) for its Australian students at Luna Park in Sydney. The 29 Specsavers dispensers were joined by two non-Specsavers dispensers. Those who attended to accept their certificates at the ceremony were part of a larger cohort of 62 Australian ACOD graduates, 55 of whom are from Specsavers. The dispensers were joined by 70 guests comprising the graduates’ friends and family and key members of the optical industry.

The night’s proceedings kicked off with an opening address from Richard Couch, Head of Ophthalmic Lenses and Dispensing Advancement for Specsavers, the main sponsor for the evening. Richard stated that the Cert IV would help the dispensers improve the quality of their customers’ experience. “To be able to provide [customers] with adequate care, support and provision of eye care and eyewear is absolutely essential,” he said.

Richard described the process of becoming a qualified dispenser as an “enriching and fulfilling experience” and highlighted the importance of supporting optometrists in providing better outcomes for patients.

Andrew McKinnon, CEO of Optometry Australia NSW/ACT, was the guest of honour, and in his keynote address, he spoke about the importance of recognising ophthalmic dispensing as a profession and the impact that gaining the Cert IV qualification could have in positively changing customers’ lives.

ACOD Director James Gibbins also congratulated the graduates. “You have worked hard and shown commitment and dedication to your course, your industry and your professional development, and you deserve to be recognised for it and to celebrate this significant achievement,” he said.

James was joined by fellow ACOD Director Chedy Kalach in presenting certificates to each graduate before presenting the course awards. Kinga Kozlowski from Specsavers Richmond in New South Wales, Elizabeth Sumner from Specsavers Geelong Bay City in Victoria (formerly of Specsavers Richmond, NSW), and Emma Gorman from Specsavers Sydney Central in NSW were awarded First, Second and Third in Course, respectively.

The newest Cert IV graduates follow in the footsteps of more than 1,500 Australian and New Zealand Specsavers dispensers who have completed the Cert IV qualification before them. The number of qualified Specsavers dispensers will continue to climb, with more Australian and New Zealand students expected to graduate from Cert IV later this year, and with a new 2019 intake set to open in the coming weeks for the recently introduced, locally-facilitated Fellowship Dispensing Diploma (FBDO) course.