Early-career optometrists entering their second and final year of the Specsavers Graduate Program were recently introduced to the ‘Year Two Project’ – an opportunity to apply their new learnings, develop their skills and explore areas of professional interest in-store.

Accompanied by their mentors (typically, their store partners), the graduates attended one of six workshops held across Australia and New Zealand from 6 to 22 May, where members of the Specsavers Graduate team outlined the purpose and finer details of the Year Two Project.

“The Year Two Project provides graduates with the opportunity to implement a project initiative in-store for the next few months, aligned to the graduate’s future goals as well as their store business objectives,” explained Adam Buxton, Head of Graduate Optometry Recruitment and Development. “This is designed to support and progress each graduate’s professional development.”

Prior to the workshops, the graduates were asked to complete a pre-forum questionnaire which prompted them to reflect on their career aspirations and professional interests, as well as their experience of the Specsavers Graduate Program.

In the first segment of the workshop, the graduates discussed their questionnaire responses with their region’s Retail Support team member, who explained the options and support available at Specsavers for the graduate to explore their aspirations and interests. The graduates continued to explore these career goals in discussion with their peers in the subsequent Graduate Forum, where they also began to assess the kind of professional development they might need to support their goals.

Armed with a clearer picture of their future direction, the graduates were then introduced to the Year Two Projects, with the Specsavers Graduate team providing an overview of the process and outlining the potential benefits and development opportunities. To solidify their understanding of the initiative, a Specsavers Graduate Program alumnus delivered a presentation on their own Year Two Project and what they learned along the way.

A Mentor Forum was held in parallel with the Graduate Forum, where the mentors collectively brainstormed ways in which their graduates’ experience could be further improved based on their pre-forum questionnaire responses. The Specsavers Graduate team provided resources and advice to assist with this, emphasising the importance of supporting the graduates’ aspirations.

In the final segment of the workshop, the graduates met with their respective mentors and, utilising tools and frameworks provided by the Specsavers Graduate team, they jointly collaborated to develop a Year Two Project topic that would foster the graduate’s growth and align with their future career goals.

At the conclusion of the workshop, the graduates had the option of participating in Grands Rounds, a peer discussion of interesting cases they had encountered.

Over the next few months, the graduates will engage in multiple teleconferences with the Specsavers Graduate team to ensure they are on track and well supported as they carry out their in-store projects.