Know more and grow more with Specsavers

With Specsavers’ unwavering support, Siddhant Majithia has achieved a phenomenal amount in a relatively short space of time. If you are wondering where to go next in your career, let Siddhant’s story inspire you. His focus on clinical expertise to enhance the customer care experience has been foundational to his success. 

Professional qualifications and climbing clinically higher

I started with a summer job at Leicester Specsavers in 2015, right after my first year of optometry, and continued to do my pre-reg at the same store. I had such a great supervisor that I passed on the first attempt. After qualifying, I wanted to develop myself further. I’d been working on the over 60s clinic, seeing a lot of pathology, and that encouraged me to do the WOPEC MECS and glaucoma qualifications. When OCT launched in 2019, I became the OCT champion and completed my Medical Retina Professional Certificate with UCL. It was super OCT-based and through this knowledge, I built training sessions for the optometrist teams. During the pandemic, I was one of only four working in the store. I worked closely with my director, who had experience of working in the hospital glaucoma department. I learnt a lot from him, which helped me to achieve my Professional Certificate in Glaucoma. 

I became the lead optometrist when the directors opened Fosse Park. This was my first leadership role, and I dived into leadership courses to gain the ILM level 2 and 3 qualifications. While there, I supervised a pre-reg and oversaw a lot of training and development across both stores. I also taught CET3 and supervised CLOs. In 2021, I took on the optometry partnership at the Towcester store and took the next step in my clinical career by starting my IP qualification. I juggled university, while also training a pre-reg, beginning WOPEC assessing, and facilitating the internal Specsavers Pre-reg Academy programme! 

I have since moved partnerships to a much larger store in Newark. It’s closer to my home and my business partner is my childhood friend. He’s been amazingly supportive of letting me go away for two weeks and finish the hospital placement part of the IP course at Coventry Hospital. I now just need to sit the final exam in November. I think IP will be the last clinical qualification after all the ones I’ve done! 

How have Specsavers supported your advancement?

I’ve completed almost 10 qualifications since graduating as an optometrist which Specsavers have funded. Either through group shoulder-to-shoulder funding or by my directors providing time for study. In January this year, I started an MBA apprenticeship with Aston University and dedicated 20% of my week to it – I am a director and an apprentice. 

Specsavers have been so supportive, even when I had overlapping qualifications, they never doubted me. They never said, “Are you going to cope with doing ILM 3 and glaucoma at the same time as doing your lead optometrist role?” They just said, “If you want to do it, we’ll support your career.” And they did that all the way through. When I finished Specsavers Pathway, I said to my directors, “I’m going for a store partnership. What do you think?” They said they knew the time would come to let me spread my wings, even though it meant leaving their business.

As a director, how are you supporting clinicians?

The first thing I say to my clinicians is you should do Medical Retina. I’ll let them know when the intake for university is coming up and ask them if they want to apply. I support their application, provide a reference, and fully fund the course, including travel expenses, and anything they need to gain the qualification. For my store, it means my customers are seeing an expert team where everyone has the qualifications and confidence to support our customers. 

I think I’m pushier for the team to do it because I’ve done it. I’ve seen the wealth of knowledge and the confidence it brings in practice. When I’m in clinic and see a patient with glaucoma or when something comes up on the OCT, I’m confident because I have the qualifications.

What experiences have you had because of your additional qualifications?

I think there’s been countless, really. The most famous one I had was after doing MECS. I had the skills and confidence to sort anterior eye problems during the pandemic and had a patient come in who had a fly stuck in their eye. The story went viral and ended up in the New York Post! I could extract the fly, and apply antibiotics, and the patient recovered.  

Every day I help patients by seeing their OCT scan with a greater depth of clinical understanding. I can see things differently because I’ve learnt from the qualifications that there’s clinical relevance to it. I encourage my store not to over-refer and have put in place referral audits. We’re currently in the process of getting EOS contracts that wouldn’t have been possible without the qualifications. 

What advice can you give to progressing a career with Specsavers?

It’s quite easy to become stagnant in your career and you can get bored easily if you’re doing the same thing day in day out. The qualifications bring the chance to do something different. You’re learning and can progress and do something completely different in your career with the same company. 

The amazing thing about Specsavers is the encouragement and progression you can have in all aspects of the business. There are so many courses and qualifications with funding available. You can do everything that I’ve done from Medical Retina on the clinical side, to helping with the facilitation of events like Specsavers Professional Advancement and the Pre-reg Academy. On the business side, you can own your own business with partnership or move into a support office role. The company offers so much in terms of development – come and experience it for yourself!  

What is next for you in your career?

I really enjoy helping with WOPEC assessing and the Pre-Reg Academy. I’d like to do more of a group role and utilise a mixture of my clinical qualifications alongside my MBA. Anything that supports the Specsavers group I find engaging because it really affects optometry as an industry. Everything I’ve done prior to that has been on a store level, whereas it’s awesome having hundreds of pre-regs that you’re helping on a weekly basis or whatever it might be! 

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