Thomas Ramberg is an optician and store owner at Specsavers Alta and takes the opportunity to announce that they need one, maybe two, more opticians to fulfil the city's needs. “There's a lot going on here,” says Thomas. "Currently, we are renovating the entire store to include new examination rooms for the opticians, providing them with the best working conditions possible.
Alta is the largest city in Finnmark and a prominent student city, home to a branch of the Arctic University of Norway. As the city's population expands, the need for services such as eye exams, contact lenses, and eyeglasses is on the rise. However, due to a shortage of opticians in the region, Thomas believes it's necessary to recruit someone from southern Norway — Southerners, as they say up there. And why not consider this option? Finnmark is known for its exotic, untamed beauty and has much to offer. We’ll come back to that.
"It was a coincidence. I didn't know what I wanted to be, so I worked a little here and there, in a kindergarten, among other things. I was a little fascinated by fibre optics and searched the web for an education in the field. That's when I discovered the optometry programme at Kongsberg. It was perfect for me.
During the summer break, I returned to Alta and secured a job with the optician, which eventually transformed into a Specsavers store. Fortunately, I received a salary while pursuing my education as part of the agreement to work there for two years after completing my studies. It was a win-win and easy to accept. After all, I wanted to go back to Alta."
"The best thing about being an optician is meeting a lot of people who experience that you solve a problem for them. Quite often, we detect diseases when we do eye examinations, and then we help to change people's lives in a positive direction. I like that Specsavers is focusing more and more on eye health and the quality of the examinations. We have top-notch equipment and advanced survey methods.
And as part of the Specsavers chain, we can provide people with better eye health and visual care without it costing too much. There’re many people who consider glasses to be a significant expense.," says Thomas.
In 2021, Thomas invested his savings and became the store’s optical owner. He talks about a hectic time with a steep learning curve during the transition. "There were a lot of new things to deal with, not least being responsible for around ten employees. The Specsavers' PID program, Partner in Development, proved invaluable. It strengthened my skills, and I gained substantial knowledge about various aspects such as operations, finances, and the numerous support functions provided by Specsavers' Support Office.
Becoming a store owner gave me a renewed sense of purpose," Thomas explains. "Now, my workdays are more diverse, and I engage in tasks I haven’t experienced before. Fortunately, I have the full support of Specsavers, which provides peace of mind."
"Above all, I offer a satisfying job within a relatively youthful work environment and a competitive salary. Alta, being a college town, is a hub of various positive activities, boasting excellent opportunities for outdoor adventures and a vibrant cultural scene. The city is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, including fjords, rivers, mountains, and vast open spaces. Additionally, Alta enjoys a pleasant climate featuring the mesmerizing phenomena of the midnight sun and the polar night. Contrary to common belief, the polar night isn't as dark as one might assume. While the sun dips below the horizon, the days are illuminated by a beautiful blue light.
I'm quite active in outdoor pursuits," Thomas elaborates. "I engage in mountain climbing, go ski touring with randoné skis (a type of ski equipment used for backcountry skiing) and spend significant time fishing."Recently, I participated in the Halibut Fishing World Championships out here. My team pulled in a rye measuring 134 cm. We didn't win, but it was a great experience, with humpback whales up close and golden eagles above us."
Thomas also talks about favourable economic benefits for people in Finnmark. There are lower tax rates, cheaper electricity without VAT, free kindergarten and NOK 25,000 in annual write-downs of student loans. In Alta, there is also a decent housing market, whether you want to rent or buy your own place.
"If you are an outgoing and independent optician, you must contact us," concludes Thomas. "I guarantee you'll enjoy your stay with us"