Raising awareness of careers in optometry to 80,000 students
Specsavers makes Big Bang with teens
at STEM careers fair
More than 80,000 STEM students were inspired to consider a career in optometry or audiology at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham which ran from 14 to17 March.
A team of 40 people from Specsavers ran a series of interactive workshops designed to be both fun and educational for students from years 7 to 10 and year 11-13 students studying science, technology, engineering or mathematics. The team comprised store directors, optometrists, head of enhanced optical services, audiologists and the early careers team.
Students enjoyed demonstrations of ophthalmoscopes and otoscopes, and viewed their friends’ eyes through Optical Coherence Tomography from Birmingham Optical Group. They also experienced a City University-developed app designed to help users view the world from the point of view of a glaucoma sufferer.
Lucy Knock, early careers manager, comments: ‘We know that optometry and audiology are some of the best kept secrets in healthcare careers and this needs to change if we are to have a sustainable profession. We are committed to building relationships with the next generation of optometrists and audiologists at major events such as the Big Bang Fair as well as at local careers fairs and in local schools’.
Judy Lea, optometrist director at Specsavers in Longton, adds: ‘I met so many students at the Big Bang Fair who have a real interest in STEM subjects but who just hadn’t considered optometry as a career choice before talking to us.’
Feedback over the four days was positive, with students of all ages saying they loved the hands-on workshops which gave them a chance to talk to Specsavers' experts and to hear more about how they can change people’s lives by working in healthcare on the high street.
Parents and students also praised the Specsavers stand:
“You’ve made optometry accessible and given my child confidence with their interests, showing the connection between school studies and careers.” Jon Philips, parent.
“The stand gave me an insight into hearing loss that I’d never thought about.’ Kate Hodgson, aged 14
“I liked wearing the sim-specs to see how visual impairment can affect other people – I’d never seen it from their perspective” Hattie Kendrick aged 15
“The amount of tech available amazes me. So many advances in eye care and ear health.” Tim Rodgers, parent.
“I’ve learnt new things, the OCT eye machine was really interesting” Pierce Broderick aged 14