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Work-readiness of Aussie optometry graduates under microscope

Optometry graduate employers are being invited to take part in the Australian Government’s Employer Satisfaction Survey (ESS), which ends mid-August.

The ESS is a Department of Education initiative carried out by the Social Research Centre to measure work readiness of recent optometry graduates.

As the accreditation authority for optometry programs of study, the Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand (OCANZ) has consulted on a series of questions about optometry education as part of the ESS.

OCANZ chair Professor Alex Gentle explained the aim of the survey and emphasised the value of employer feedback.

“Only employers can give us the information we need about how effective optometry programs are in equipping graduates for the workforce – their direct, face to face, knowledge of what patients need is unique,” he said.

“This is why it’s so important for graduates to ask their employers to fill out the survey. We need their feedback to assist us to take better advantage of the strengths of our courses and to eliminate any weaknesses. This is particularly important for us to understand given the rapid innovations that were necessary to health professional training programs, across the sector, during the pandemic.”

Optometry Australia CEO Ms Lyn Brodie encouraged employers to take part.

Lyn Brodie

“I am a strong advocate for evaluation, as it provides an evidence base for continuous improvement. I would encourage all employers to participate, as it’s a great opportunity to ensure great graduate employees,” she said.

As part of the ESS, all graduates – including optometry – in Australia are invited to participate in the Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS) four to six months after they have completed their course.

As a quality indicator of learning and teaching in the field of optometry, feedback from the GOS and ESS is used to inform the continued development of education programs, and benefits graduates and employers through improved teaching and education experiences, and workforce preparedness, OCANZ said.

Mr Peter Murphy, Luxottica’s director of eye care and community, said the company – as a major employer in optometry – welcomes the feedback the GOS will provide.

Peter Murphy

“It can only improve the quality of education and training and consequently, raise the work readiness of optometrists as they enter the profession. This clearly benefits employers, but most importantly, it benefits our patients who will ultimately receive better eye health care,” Murphy said.

As part of the GOS, graduates are invited to nominate their employers to take part in the ESS, who will respond to questions from an employer’s point of view.

The ESS will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. It is online, voluntary, and follows strict privacy guidelines to ensure confidentiality.

OCANZ said participation from employers has been high in the past, demonstrating the profession’s commitment to ensuring a highly prepared workforce.

“The participation of employers will make a valuable contribution towards improving the quality of optometry education and the skills, knowledge, and work readiness of graduates who enter our profession in the future,” the accreditation authority said.

“If you employ a recent graduate, please ask them about the survey and indicate your willingness to be nominated to comment. If a graduate nominates you as their employer, the Social Research Centre will send you an email invitation with a survey link.”

OCANZ is responsible for establishing and applying quality standards that help to protect the eye health of the community. OCANZ does this by accrediting entry-level optometry education programs and assessing the qualifications of overseas trained optometrists.

For further information about the GOS or ESS, email enquiries@ocanz.org.

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