From dispensing to optometry

Two-degrees Craig

Specsavers pre-reg Craig Buchanan is a well-qualified man: he has TWO degrees.

Craig, who’s currently doing his pre-registration placement at Specsavers’ Aberdeen store, gained a BSc in Ophthalmic Dispensing before switching to Optometry. There followed another three years’ slog before the (almost) eternal student gained his second BSc, also from Glasgow Caledonian University, earlier this year.

The 26-year-old explains: ‘I decided to jump over to optometry as I got good results in my dispensing degree and my course leader thought it would be beneficial; his encouragement was what made me switch. I thought I might not get the opportunity again and didn’t want to regret anything in later years.’

Craig organised his pre-reg placement during the third year of his optometry degree. ‘Throughout my degree I had a Saturday job as an optical assistant at the Trongate Centre Specsavers in Glasgow, and the director there has a share in the Aberdeen store, so a few people moved from Trongate to Aberdeen. I thought it would be a beneficial change, so I applied for a pre-reg placement.’

As a pre-reg optometrist, Craig does supervised eye tests, contact lens checks and dispensing of glasses. He also attends courses and will regularly visit the ophthalmology department of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to increase his understanding of different eye conditions.

‘I feel really supported here,’ he says. ‘Once a week I have a chat with my supervisors – what I’ve done, what was good, what could be improved, and plans for the following week. It’s a really well-run store as well.’

Craig is one of two graduate trainees in the Aberdeen store and really appreciates the support he gets from his fellow pre-reg, Chrish. ‘It’s definitely helpful. It makes it much easier, as she’s going through the same thing.’

He’s looking forward to finally qualifying, and hopes to stay with Specsavers. ‘What I like about the company is the Partnership offering [for experienced staff who aspire to be future partners] and all the opportunities for training and development, so I’m quite happy staying within the Specsavers framework.’

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