Peter is originally from New Zealand, but in the late 1990s, he did the big OE (overseas experience – familiar to many New Zealanders) and ended up in Europe. He’s lectured in optometry for almost two decades at Linnaeus University in Kalmar, Sweden, despite his parents’ advice to stay away from the teaching profession.
“Both my parents said, “Be whatever you want in life but don’t be a teacher.” However, my grandmother was a teacher, my father was a primary school principal, and my mother taught at specific points in her life, so there is a slight genetic predisposition to ending up in this profession in my family. So, when I got into the optometry programme at university, my parents were incredibly supportive.”
“As a child, I wanted to be a doctor, so healthcare has been at the core of my work-life intentions. When I started university, I did an intermediate year and met people with diverse backgrounds studying various programmes, from Humanities to Engineering. I got an idea of what people could do in life, which somewhat changed my career path.”
“I found optometry interesting because you’re problem-solving and dealing with people, and it’s a broad profession. So, I got into the optometry programme in Auckland, New Zealand, completed my studies, and started working for one of my teachers; he was involved in the university’s occupational optometry and business management courses and was a massive inspiration to me. So I went straight into optometry after university.”
“After a year of working for my previous teacher, I went overseas and ended up at a Specsavers store in Chorley, a town close to Manchester in the UK. I worked as an optical assistant because I couldn’t work as an optometrist in England. So slightly overqualified for the job, but I learned how Specsavers operated. My two bosses were also a great inspiration to me. They were into all sorts of gadgets, which appealed to me, and I assisted them both by doing pre-examination work – taking the patient history and such.”
“Because Specsavers is a company that cares for people and their well-being. Specsavers is doing some important things for optometry. For example, I’ve seen from my work at the university that the company has been interested in teaching students – in education. Specsavers has extended the knowledge and skills of their staff and even brought it down to a student level – making the transition from student life to professional life smoother.”
“The Clinical Conferences are also an excellent initiative for education. I’ve attended the conferences and find them engaging and quite diverse. Not only aimed at optometrists but aimed at people working in the stores, assistants, and other staff. It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet experts within the field of optometry in a more relaxed setting.”
“My drive in life is to inspire people. I’ve been fortunate to meet inspirational people on my career path, and Specsavers is inspirational. They’ve got excellent onboarding for the staff and for newly graduated students as well – I’ve seen that in the past. They’re constantly looking for new ways to inspire and engage their staff members and are genuinely interested in helping people develop.”
“That’s at the core of my role as well. Specsavers places high importance on education, making it a desirable workplace. I’ll work on developing educational resources for optometrists and assistants that are easily accessible and understandable. These resources will simplify complex optometry concepts and will be available on the Greenpoint app (Specsavers’ internal online learning platform) and Viewpoint (Specsavers’ online learning resources open for all).”
“Also, I have some pretty competent “playmates” here at Specsavers, so this role allows me to learn much more myself and contribute to the learning process after university studies – creating courses and content for expanding knowledge for everyone in the eye care industry. In addition, I enjoy seeing people develop and spur people’s curiosity. I’m excited to join Specsavers and set sail.”
Are you interested in learning and development? Do you need to be better at specific work tasks? Are you an optometry student (or soon-to-be) looking for “someone to have your back?” Then, our e-learning and development platform Viewpoint is the place to be.
If you’re looking for job opportunities, explore them further.