From Optical Assistant to running my own business
Meet Ramiz Ahmed, Optical Partner
in Specsavers Acocks Green
What was your background before joining Specsavers?
Before Specsavers, my first job was at my local optician at the age of 16, this is where I found my passion and love for optics and knew I only ever wanted to preserve a career in Optometry. I then applied to study at City University where I graduated in 2011 and proceeded to do my graduate pre-reg at Specsavers and that is how my journey began.
Tell us a bit about your career journey at Specsavers?
My career at Specsavers started off by being recruited as a pre-reg in 2012, I then worked towards becoming fully qualified in 2013. Once I had completed my pre-reg, I then moved stores to be closer to home. I worked for 2 years as a testing Optometrist before becoming interested in the Pathway Programme Specsavers have to offer. I developed myself further through this programme and eventually became a Joint Venture Partner in 2015. Specsavers have supported me through my journey right from the get go and I am still progressing at every stage possible to be a better Optometrist and Joint Venture Partner.
How has Specsavers supported your development?
Specsavers have provided continuous opportunities for me to progress not only through my career but also as an individual. The support has always been readily available when required and specifically tailored towards my needs. Nimesh Popat, Director of Professional Recruitment and Retention, has been one individual who stood out from many who has continuously been a firm support in the progression of my career from Optical Assistant to Joint Venture Partner, but more importantly has always had belief in an individual’s ability to succeed. Specsavers have the capacity to entrust and empower the right people in their network, so any individual such as myself are given opportunities to progress upwards and beyond.
What clinical advances have you seen lately?
Specsavers enhanced eyecare brings together professional development and patient care to move Optometry forward as a profession. This has enabled Specsavers to provide greater optical services to the public and further develop our Optometrists in order to become the “go to” experts on minor eye conditions.
Another advancement Specsavers have made recently is partnering with NewMedica, one of the largest independent Ophthalmology providers to the NHS, which in affect will improve eye health services within our communities. This will also allow Ophthalmologists and Optometrists to come together to ease the pressure in hospital eye departments.
Optometrists in Specsavers will also have the opportunity of conducting eye tests in more depth for the community due to the continuously updated technology to screen our patients. An OCT machine is playing a huge part in the diagnosis of Macular Degeneration in hospitals and I believe this would be a great benefit for the public when this is available in community care in order to detect abnormalities.
How are you driving forward optometry in your local community?
I take great pride in being an active member of my local community as I believe it is important to give back. We regularly provide free eye tests as well as attending schools and local community centres to talk about the importance of having an eye test.
I am also MECS and Glaucoma Level 2 Accredited which permits me to provide an extra service to the local community so my patients can be seen more promptly rather than waiting to be seen at a local hospital for these particular conditions. In addition to this, we are the only Optician who offers its services on a Sunday in our area which provides flexibility for those in the community.
In regards to training and developing yourself and your clinical teams - how do you manage to stay at the leading edge of your profession?
I regularly attend Specsavers PAC conference which attracts over 1000 attendees per annum at the ICC in Birmingham. It consists of clinical, dispensing and contact lens lectures presented by a variety of speakers discussing everything from the latest clinical and product updates to new development in legislation, new approaches to patient management and problem-solving to new ways to inspire customers. Specsavers are committed to giving everyone all the learning and development opportunities they need to achieve their full potential. This includes everything from practical workshops to easily accessible online learning resources and toolkits to provide a flexible and blended learning experience through our online learning portal.
What makes you most proud of your time at Specsavers so far?
I love to watch my team grow – the times when I have taken on graduates and developed them through their pre-reg to become fully qualified Optometrists makes me very proud. Someone was once there to support me through my whole journey in Specsavers and I believe it is only right to give back.
Describe the Specsavers culture in three words
Driven, Progressive and Transforming.
What advice would you give someone looking to join Specsavers?
I have genuinely enjoyed my time working for Specsavers and if you’re looking for an organisation that can help you to grow professionally and personally, this is the place for you. If you’re willing to work hard and go the extra mile, Specsavers will do the same for you.