Specsavers online CET is proving popular during lockdown

Optical practitioners from independents and multiples alike have been busy earning CET points during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

More than 800 optometrists, dispensing opticians and contact lens opticians have enrolled on the Specsavers distance-learning MiniPAC programme – an online alternative to the annual CET roadshow which had to be paused in March after just two events.

Specsavers rapidly transformed the face-to-face learning into a series of recorded lectures, webinars and quizzes – and made it free of charge to all practitioners, regardless of where they work, until the end of the year.

As a result, Specsavers Professional Training has seen a sharp monthly rise in CET uptake online – more than 4,000 points have been awarded through the company’s CET distance-learning programme in the last two months, an increase of almost 50% year on year.

It has also adapted a number of three-point peer discussions so that they can be delivered with remote participants through video conferencing, and – while the Scheme for Registration is paused – has put together a schedule of self-study materials for its pre-reg optometrists.

Gill Robinson, Director of professional training and development, said: ‘We were, of course, hugely disappointed to have to halt our MiniPAC events – but it’s been really encouraging to see how many practitioners have embraced the online training alternatives. We’ve been very clear that, for furloughed colleagues, any learning or training is optional and voluntary. Regardless, it would seem many clinicians – whether they are still working or at home – are choosing to use this enforced ‘quieter’ period to further their clinical and professional development.

‘Of course, one of the hardest things to replicate is the interaction of an in-person training event with your peersso it’s been particularly gratifying to see Specsavers teams use the technology available to them to hold peer discussions via video call, or share clinical cases via our online optometrist network on Yammer, which we introduced last year.’

Non-Specsavers practitioners can access the MiniPAC distance-learning CET at specsavers-spectrum.com

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