The team supporting Specsavers Australia & New Zealand’s optometrists has grown again as it increases the scope of its professional development offering.

A newly established three-member team that operates within Specsavers Aus/NZ’s Optometry Department will focus on extending the professional development opportunities available to Specsavers optometrists.

Julia Farrell has been appointed to lead the team as Head of Optometry Professional Development. Julia brings a wealth of experience to the role, having previously managed training and professional development for global groups including Ford Asia Pacific and CAMS. Julia is responsible for the leadership and overall functional and strategic direction of professional training and development activities for Specsavers stores across Australia and New Zealand.

Optometry Development Consultant Dr Joseph Paul will assist Julia in the implementation of ophthalmology-led training and provide support with professional development planning. Dr Paul joins Specsavers from the Centre for Eye Research Australia where he was a postdoctoral researcher. He has also worked as an optometrist for Specsavers and the Australian College of Optometry since 2012.

The team will be supported by Optometry Coordinator Giordana Zanca-Carramusa, who will assist with the planning and coordination of all national professional development activities. Giordana also administers CPD tracking and provides regulatory compliance support for Specsavers optometrists. Giordana joined Specsavers as a dispenser in 2008 before moving into a Support Office role with the Finance team. She joined the Optometry team in 2018.

The Optometry Professional Development team will be working closely with Learning Designer Nadine Hogg, who joined Specsavers in 2009 as Regional Development Manager. Nadine moved into the Retail Training & Development team in 2010, creating materials for career development workshops and in-store training. Since being seconded to the Optometry team in 2017, she has produced content for web-based training and professional resources for Specsavers optometrists, a role she will continue to perform in conjunction with the new Optometry Professional Development team.

The team’s immediate focusses will be on the implementation of the Ophthalmologist Local Education and Engagement Program across Australia and New Zealand, and the building of a portfolio of online resources to support the professional development of optometrists.

Speaking on behalf of the team, Julia said, “The optometry profession is constantly evolving, and we recognise the importance of providing high-quality professional development to allow our optometrists to advance their clinical skills and stay up-to-date on best clinical practice. This, in turn, will enable them to continuously enhance their patient outcomes and make a measurable contribution towards our ultimate goal of transforming eye health across Australia and New Zealand.”

Following multiple expansions over the past two years, the Specsavers Aus/NZ optometry support team now comprises 20 professionals – including 15 qualified optometrists – who operate both in-store and from the Support Office to help Specsavers optometrists deliver positive health outcomes for patients across Australia and New Zealand.