Three Specsavers optical dispensers have enrolled in an Australian-based pilot program that will earn them the internationally-recognised FBDO optical dispensing qualification. The dispensers commenced studies for the course last month, along with two dispensing students from Deakin University.

Traditionally, the Fellowship Dispensing Diploma – which is offered by the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) and grants the graduate the FBDO post-nominal – has been available to Australians and New Zealanders in the form of a distance learning program that requires the student to travel to the UK or Malaysia to complete their examinations. Now, Specsavers Australia & New Zealand is working with ABDO to pilot a locally-facilitated diploma course.

The pilot program involves a three-year diploma course in ophthalmic dispensing, leading to the ABDO Level 6 FBDO OS qualification. Similar to the Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing program, students undertake their studies while working in practice with the support of an in-store supervisor. The pilot program combines the diploma’s online modules with locally-based face-to-face workshops that teach advanced dispensing skills. Students enrolled in the pilot program will also complete their examinations in Australia.

“As evidenced by delegate numbers at the annual Specsavers Dispensing Conference, there is strong demand for professional development amongst Australian dispensers,” stated Richard Couch, Head of Ophthalmic Lenses & Dispensing for Specsavers Aus / NZ.

“We are committed to promoting and supporting professional advancement opportunities for our dispensers as well as the broader industry, and increasing the accessibility of ABDO’s Fellowship Dispensing Diploma is a significant step towards that goal. The FBDO course offers experienced dispensers an opportunity to elevate their dispensing skills to a new level while obtaining a highly-respected qualification that is recognised internationally.”

Information is currently being gathered from the pilot program, with a view to opening enrolment to Australian and New Zealand dispensers early next year for a September 2019 intake.