Following the introduction of new professional development initiatives for Specsavers optical dispensers, there has been a lift in the number of team members seeking to gain new skills and extend their dispensing knowledge.

Last year, Specsavers launched the inaugural Specsavers Dispensing Conference (SDC) as part of its increased focus on the professional advancement of its optical dispensers.

In his opening address at the conference, Specsavers Aus/NZ Director of Product Steve O’Leary encouraged dispensers to take charge of their development.

“We should strive for excellence not because a regulator says we have to be good, but because we want to be good – and we should be seeking to be great,” he said.

Specsavers dispensers are answering the call, with 90 enrolling in this year’s first Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing intake. Over the course of the program, students will learn a range of advanced dispensing skills that will better serve customers’ varied needs, with topics including low vision aids, dispensing for children, and the interpretation, correct dispensing and troubleshooting of rare, unusual and challenging prescriptions.

While Cert IV is an external accreditation facilitated by the Australasian College of Optical Dispensing and RMIT University, 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.

Students from the latest Cert IV intake continue a strong Specsavers tradition of furthering professional development, with more than 1,000 Australian and New Zealand Specsavers dispensers having completed the Cert IV program to date.

Australian dispensers kick off their Cert IV studies throughout this month, while New Zealand students are set to commence the course in May 2018. A second Australian 2018 Cert IV intake will begin in July, and the next SDC will take place from 12 to 17 August 2018.