A workshop was held in New Zealand and in five states across Australia from 14 to 23 January to help prepare store partners for the largest intake of graduate optometrists Specsavers Australia & New Zealand has ever accepted.

The Primary Mentor Workshop is designed to provide participating Specsavers store partners with the necessary tools to be successful mentors to the newly-qualified optometrists who will be practising in their stores.

During the half-day workshop, the store partners were reminded of the significance of their role as mentors. They were given direction on best practice for mentoring newly-qualified optometrists as well as clarity on what was expected of them in the role. The workshop also included practical examples of how the graduate development tools provided to them could be utilised in the development of their graduate’s clinical and commercial skills.

Major themes discussed over the course of the day included the importance of considering the graduate’s needs and expectations, and delivering consistent support; identifying graduate and mentor challenges, and strategies to overcome them; and how to effectively communicate constructive feedback to resolve issues.

“The move from university to full-time practice can be daunting for newly-qualified optometrists, and having a strong and supportive mentor can make a big difference in easing that transition,” said Adam Buxton, Specsavers Aus/NZ Head of Graduate Recruitment and Development. “The first step in ensuring our graduates have a positive experience is by making sure that the mentors who will be supporting them through their journey are set up for success. The mentors, in turn, often report that they enjoy a similarly positive experience, which is why we have many returning to the program each year.”

The first 2019 intake of graduate optometrists will commence in-store next week.