My career journey to Optometrist Partner with Specsavers
Andrew Preston talks about his career with Specsavers and life as an Optometrist Director
What was your background before joining Specsavers?
Upon leaving school I did a degree in Orthoptics and worked in Hospital Eye Clinics as an Orthoptist before deciding to go back to university to study Optometry as a second degree. During my time at university I worked part time as an Optical Assistant at Huyton Specsavers which gave me an invaluable insight into the running of a busy practice. I was subsequently offered the position of Pre-reg Optometrist there after finishing my degree. After passing my professional exams I worked for a small independent practice before returning back to Specsavers to fulfill my ambition of opening my own practice here in Allerton Liverpool, which is where I was born and brought up. I actually went to nursery school less than 100m from the store!
In a nutshell, what do you do?
As the Optometrist Director I lead a fantastic team of people in delivering excellence in eye care to all our customers and ensure we always strive to exceed their expectations. It is my job to give the team the best platform to do their job to their maximum ability, to develop themselves professionally and personally and consequently develop the business. I ensure our newly relocated store is an amazing environment to work and one which enables us to attract, develop and retain the great people that Specsavers is renowned for. We are really proud to have recently been accredited to Platinum employer status.
What does your typical day look like?
No such thing as a typical day. I’m still predominantly involved in seeing patients in the numerous clinics we run here. In addition to sight testing, contact lens and hearing clinics, we offer numerous additional services in store such as pre and post op cataract assessments, glaucoma referral refinement, learning disabilities and are currently looking at expanding into additional areas to provide enhanced optical services.
What makes you most proud of your time at Specsavers so far?
I am most proud of starting a small store from scratch with 4 staff initially to recently relocating to much larger premises with almost 30 staff in the space of 10 years. Additionally, many of our staff from our early years are still with us and continue to enjoy the incredible journey of which they have been an integral part. I am very keen on staff training and development and am proud how the staff have developed themselves during this time with a number of former staff members going on to be directors in their own right with their own stores. We have a number of staff members who started with us as Saturday jobs whilst at school and who are now fully qualified Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians.
How have you developed?
We have a strong focus on professional development here, undertaking regular training and development. Myself and all our employed Optometrists are accredited in a number of additional enhanced services such as Pre and Post op cataract services, glaucoma referral refinement, Minor Eye Condition Schemes and learning disabilities. I have also supervised several pre reg optometrists now which has been extremely rewarding and enjoyable.
What do you love about your job? What is a Challenge?
I love working with the fabulous team of people we have here who are ambitious and eager to learn and develop themselves. They always have new fantastic and innovative ideas to help improve the business and the service we offer. Whilst being a real fun environment to work in its great that we can debate and regularly challenge each other constructively to improve.
Describe the Specsavers culture in three words
Consistently exceed expectations.
What advise would you give someone looking to join Specsavers
I think Specsavers provides the best platform and environment for you to develop yourself to be the best you can be!