When Elin was 15 years old and went to high school, she wanted a job to earn a few kroner on Saturdays and holidays. On her way home from the swimming training, she stopped by the Specsavers store, where she’d also bought her glasses. “I asked if they had a job for me. They did, and since then, I worked there during all holidays and when I had time off,” says Elin. And, the side job even led to a career choice that isn’t unlikely to be a lifelong career, because she loves her job.
In middle school, Elin could imagine herself working in health sciences or the care sector. She wanted to help people to better health, in one way or another. At Specsavers, she quickly realised that this is exactly what the optician profession is all about. “Eye health is so important in people’s everyday lives. Poor vision reduces the quality of life, and as opticians, we can help people to a better life,” says Elin, who emphasises this as her most important driving force in the profession she has chosen. “There are various issues that make that someone needs help from an optician, and it provides variation in the job for us opticians. Whether you need new glasses, contact lenses or an examination of eye health, we can help with our knowledge.”
After high school, there was no doubt: Elin was to become an optician, and she had to leave her hometown Namsos for three years. The University of Southeast Norway, Campus Kongsberg, is the only place for an education to become an optician in Norway, and that was where she went to get her Bachelor’s degree. “Kongsberg is a pleasant town, but I longed to return to Namsos,” says Elin. There, hunting and outdoor life fill her leisure time. Now she’s eagerly waiting for a puppy, a Gordon setter, that will eventually join her on the hunt.
Elin got her job even before she went to Kongsberg University. In addition, she received some financial support from her employer while she was studying. Now she’s back in her hometown Namsos and super happy with her permanent job at Specsavers.
At Specsavers, great emphasis is placed on taking care of and further developing their most important competitive advantage: people. The chain offers several courses and programmes to opticians, assistants and store employees. And by facilitating a pleasant environment in each store, Specsavers ensures that experiences and expertise are shared between employees. “Even though the education is very practically oriented, I face new challenges every day as a newly trained optician,” says Elin. “Fortunately, I have experienced colleagues that I can rely on and ask when there’s something I’m wondering about. The security I feel spreads to customers as well, so it’s good in every way.”
That the work is varied is one of the things that Elin highlights as the best thing about her career choice. Even if there are many vision tests on the same day, it never gets boring. People are different, and they have different needs in everyday life. “There are never two days or two vision tests that are the same. Therefore, curiosity is an important qualification for us opticians,” Elin concludes.