Australia's Leading Ophthalmic Magazine Since 1975

     Free Sign Up     

Australia's Leading Ophthalmic Magazine Since 1975

     Free Sign Up     
Report

Australasian College of Optical Dispensing 2019 graduation

30/05/2019By Lewis Williams PhD
Share:
A number of new dispensers took the next step in their next careers at the ACOD 2019 graduation ceremony. LEWIS WILLIAMS was in attendance.

A total of 62 graduates from NSW, the ACT, Queensland, WA, and Tasmania completed the Australian College of Optical Dispensing (ACOD) course successfully in 2018. A total of 31, including the prize winners, were in attendance for the graduation ceremony held in the Palais Room at Sydney’s Luna Park on 5 April 2019.

ACOD director and co-founder Mr James Gibbins hosted the evening. The guest speaker for the night was Mr Andrew McKinnon, the long-standing CEO of Optometry Australia (OA) NSW/ACT. His connection to ophthalmic optics runs deeper than his OA position, in that his daughter is also an optical dispenser.

McKinnon opened by emphasising to the audience and graduands that dispensing was a profession, rather than an occupation. As such, dispensers are part of a team within a practice regardless of where or how they practiced. He reminded those dispensers in attendance that regardless of what transpires in a practice, dispensing is the final step in the serious process of selecting and supplying optical appliances to patients.

He traced the now defunct 1953 Optical Dispensers Licencing ACT of NSW from its start to its repeal in 2009, and noted that OA NSW/ACT opposed the move. He also believes that the lack of a solid political organisation representing dispensers at the time regulation was under threat, made the profession’s task more difficult.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

James Gibbins

Emma Boneham

Andrew McKinnon

In his address, he asked where organised optical dispensing is now, and suggested that the new graduates from all courses will need to drive any new initiatives to organise the profession.

Looking to the future of ophthalmic optics, McKinnon warned the audience about the accuracy of any predictions, including his own. However, he did attempt to give an overview of what he saw in terms of a 2019 viewpoint. For sales, he estimated that about 20% of consumers buy on price and convenience, and they are the majority of customers of internet suppliers. As he sees it, these customers have little relevance to a practice.

Designs for Vision
advertisement

McKinnon explained that the predicted demise of retail is based on the growth of internet sales, and suggested it has little credibility to date. While the internet has made inroads into retail sales, the more competent brick and mortar outlets have managed to adequately combat them, albeit not completely.

He cited figures showing that Amazon, the prototype internet outlet, accounts for just 5% of US retail sales, and that e-commerce is 11% of US retail sales. To counter perceptions, he also reported that 82% of UK consumers want an in-store experience when purchasing fashion products – they want to see the products ‘on’. He reported that, currently, independent practice is experiencing, on average, double-digit annual growth.

His advice to graduates was to get patients to like the practice and its staff, and to try to keep appliance remake rates below 3%, since perceptions of the practice and the industry suffer when rates are excessive. All staff, especially dispensing staff, need to be across all products handled, and despite perceptions to the contrary, industry and trade representatives should be viewed as knowledgeable and useful resources, because they are armed with the product-specific information needed by all involved.

His parting comments to the graduands were: be proud of your achievements, grow your skills and knowledge, don’t be shy and improve your communications skills, never be afraid to offer an expert opinion (that’s what customers want), and set sights on the future because eyecare is a booming business.

Kinga Kozlowski
Kinga Kozlowski
Elizabeth Sumner
Elizabeth Sumner
Emma Gorman
Emma Gorman

The prize winners

McKinnon presented the certificates to each of the graduating class. Special attention was given to the three prize winners. Top of the class was Ms Kinga Kozlowski, second place went to Ms Elizabeth Sumner, and third place to Ms Emma Gorman. A pleasant surprise was the fact that the first and second place getters were both from the Richmond Marketplace (NSW) branch of Specsavers, and also had the same mentor. The result shows the effect of good mentoring which, when combined with a student’s innate ability, can produce outstanding results.

There was one other novel feature of the class of 2018; a mother-daughter pair from WA, in Ms Kerri Wilson and her daughter Ms Rebecca Wilson. Parent-child pairs have graduated as optical dispensers before, but never in the same year as each other.

New graduate Ms Emma Boneham gave an address on behalf of the class. She vowed that she and her colleagues would strive to do the best for each patient they served and thanked the ACOD staff, full and part-time, for their contributions during the Certificate IV course they had just completed.

large leaderboard
advertisement





rectangle
advertisement
Editor's Suggestion
Hot Stories

rectangle
advertisement


OR
 

Subscribe for Insight in your Inbox

Get Insight with the latest in industry news, trends, new products, services and equipment!