The future of the optics industry is in the hands of those who will just be starting their journeys now.
2019 brought many changes to the optics industry both large and small, 2020 is set to be no different. As with almost every industry on the planet research and technology are going to be at the forefront of those changes.
In order to keep up with the rapid pace of change, we know it is important to create opportunities for the next generation of optometrists, who are at the forefront of this research to help shape our future.
The lightbulb moment
At the start of 2017 Haine and Smith realised that in order to create these opportunities, attract graduates and secure our future we would need to set up a work experience and mentorship programme. This was set to be no easy task, we wanted to create a programme that we know would set these students up for a bright future as well as be able to take their experiences away to help us improve the programme for future students.
Laying the foundation
We knew that with any new venture, in order to succeed it is important that we set goals and measurable objectives. We did this by understanding what we wanted to achieve with the programme. We encapsulated what we wanted to achieve 3 areas for success:
Once we had decided on these 3 areas, we then established measurable objectives. We did understand that there was a large potential for change as we worked directly with the students. We came to the realisation that we were creating a framework rather then a set of rules.
Dialog not monolog
With excitement in 2018 we welcomed our first group of students to our practices who were all studying to become optometrists at UWE. We had laid our framework out and set about applying this to the students in what we thought at the time was going to be a brilliant programme.
As part of the measurement of success we knew that feedback from the students was going to be essential. One of the pieces of feedback you might hear from students in any work experience programme is that they don’t feel like they’re being listened to. We wanted to create a dialog with the students where they felt comfortable letting us know how they felt about the programme, how we could improve it and what they thought of us as an optician.
As a company we also needed to make sure that we were providing everyone involved in the process the right tools to help them achieve their tasks. This included our own staff, who as part of the programme were going above and beyond to make sure this programme was a success for those students.
As the programme came to its eventual close, we realised quickly that this was something that we needed to continue to do. This programme was quite clearly a success. However, we knew that in order to reach our lofty goals. We would need to continue to build on that success and take on board all the feedback and apply that to next year's students.
After several meetings and learning sessions we came up with what we believed to be an even better programme for the students. We then established a new set of objectives for 2019, many of which were the same as before, however we added several new objectives based on all the feedback.
The next step
In 2019 we welcomed our second set of students from UWE to the new and improved programme. Once again we created a dialog with the students to continue to improve the programme. We are happy to say that this year’s students have really taken to the programme and the feedback that we have received from them has been invaluable in setting the programme up for future success.
In order to secure the future of Haine and Smith we have set a vision for this programme;
"Be the leading work experience programme for optometrists in the UK."