More than 20 New Zealand Specsavers team members completed a ‘Cut, Edge and Fit’ (CEF) module in March 2018 as they worked towards optical dispensing qualification.

Two cohorts of students completed the workshop at Specsavers’ Auckland training facilities, which were converted into a mini laboratory and fitted with tint baths, hand edgers, and a free-standing multifunction edger with a built-in filtration unit.

Over the course of five days, and under the tuition of RMIT Senior Educator Timothy Haigh, each student demonstrated their competency through several tasks, including:

  • Preparing lenses to complete 10 pairs of spectacles to AS/NZS standards, including single vision, progressive and bifocal lenses into a variety of full rim, nylon and three-piece rimless spectacles
  • Marking lenses up on a manual focimeter prior to edging
  • Verifying each completed pair of spectacles on a manual focimeter, then cleaning them and placing them in the standard alignment
  • Using a combination of machine and hand-edging techniques to complete a lens change over
  • Demonstrating minor repairs, as well as soldering, replacing sink joints and rivet hinge repairs.

Having learned a range of new practical skills – and with the majority of the group having completed the Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing (Cert IV) program in September 2017 – the students are well on their way to becoming qualified dispensers.

Going forward, the format of the CEF module will be changing, as the Australasian College of Optical Dispensing (ACOD) is now the preferred dispensing training provider in New Zealand. Instead of being taught as a five-day workshop, the skills and lessons from the module will be incorporated into the Cert IV training journey and be undertaken at the Essilor laboratory in Glenfield.

To qualify for the title of ‘Optical Dispenser’ or ‘Dispensing Optician’ in New Zealand, students must complete Cert IV, the CEF module as well as 800 hours of in-store dispensing practice before registering with the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board (ODOB).

Cert IV is an external accreditation facilitated by ACOD and RMIT (in certain Australian states), although Specsavers dispensers begin their journey towards qualification in-store through the completion of modules in Specsavers’ in-house Career Development Program, some of which are recognised as prior learning for the course.