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News, Management, Lenses, Tech

Sydney Institute hosts Industry Day

29/11/2013
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- By Lewis Wliiams, PhD

The Ultimo campus of the Sydney Institute of TAFE NSW hosted an Industry Day for its Certificate IV optical dispensing students in late October. Later in the day, the group toured Hoya Lens Australia's Sydney lens laboratory where they were joined by the Certificate IV optical dispensing students of the OTEN DE course (Open Training & Education Network - Distance Education TAFE NSW). That was possibly the first time students of the two courses have come together other than at their combined graduation ceremony at the completion of their courses.

The MC for the day was staff member Mr James Gibbins.The first presentation was by his wife, Ms Annie Gibbins, CEO of the Australian Society of Ultrasound Medicine. Titled: Job applications, resumé preparation and interview technique the presentation was an interactive and comprehensive exposé on how job candidates should present themselves, what qualities were sought by employers, the importance of good communications skills, the significance of body language at interview, and the importance of a candidate being able to summarize in 30 seconds what they have to offer a potential employer.Mr Martin Kocbek, president of the Australian Dispensing Opticians Association, addressed the audience and gave some of the history of the organisation and its earlier rôle in the education of dispensing opticians in Australia. He detailed ADOA's code of ethics, spoke about the organisation's advocacy function, and the part it continues to play in maintaining the standards of the few remaining Australian course.Currently, there are various moves afoot by vested interests to 'dumb-down' the courses on offer. In ADOA's view, and that of many concerned 'others', the desire to diminish the course runs counter to the modern dispensing scene in which complex, sophisticated, and often very expensive lens options are in play. Their belief is that a sound understanding of the underlying principles is essential to ultimate wearer satisfaction. ADOA is also exploring the options for even higher qualifications, a fellowship program, practice management qualifications, and scholarships to support prospective students in need of support - financial and educational/mentoring. The first of a series of four promotional videos produced by ADOA about dispensing was shown.The very extensive range of magnifiers and low-vision aids produced by Eschenbach of Germany was then detailed by Dr Beth Birch of European Eyewear, the Australian agents.The optical bases of magnification, the use of aspheric surfaces, the broad sub-groups of magnifiers, the illumination systems used in some devices, especially the new range of LED-illuminated products, and the significance of the colour temperature/spectral emission characteristics of the light sources themselves were all aired in an educational way.The range of telescopes, telescope attachments for spectacles, and the more recent range of electronic 'smart screen' magnifiers rounded out the presentation. The utility of the NVRI-designed letter chart relating letter size to the magnification needed was also demonstrated.The afternoon program was the visit to the Hoya facility in Alexandria. The group was divided into three groups two of which toured the plant separately with senior staff as guides while the other was addressed by the Hoya Australia national sales manager, Mr Jim Karandonis who detailed the company and its product lines.While all areas of the facility were visited, photographs were not permitted in all areas to preserve certain aspects of the company's intellectual property.The groups rotated until all had heard about the company and seen all aspects of its operations. The array of robotic edging machines and the complexity and cleanliness standards required for quality lens coating opened more than a few eyes.The workflow and supply chain methods were also educational to the many who had not been in such a facility before.Given the success of the day it is probable that it will continue to feature in future courses, possibly in an expanded format.

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