Thomas Allison is our Audiology Partner at Specsavers Ayr. He joined us in 2016 after working as an audiologist in the NHS in Scotland
Did you always know that audiology was the career for you?
No! My first degree was in audio technology and I worked as a sound engineer. Many of the concepts of sound engineering overlap with technical audiology skills. Instead of speaker set-ups in the studio, you’re managing hearing technology. So it was a good initial training for where my career would eventually take me. Although I didn’t know it at the time!
So how did you get into audiology?
A close friend of mine – a fellow Specsavers Audiology Partner in Scotland – was starting a degree course in audiology. I thought it sounded interesting, so we did the two-year graduate diploma together. I wasn’t sure of what to expect. But it turns out I’d found what I really wanted to do.
After doing placements in hospitals, I got a job as an audiologist at a hospital in Paisley. I enjoyed the diagnostic work but after a couple of years it was pretty clear that the career progression wasn’t there, so I wondered where I could go and what else I could do in audiology. I worked for a hearing aid manufacturer for a few years before joining Specsavers as an Audiology Partner.
How was the move from the NHS to Specsavers?
The transition was pretty easy, to be honest. There’s a misconception about the private audiology sector, that you need to be some kind of sales guru and it’s all about selling hearing aids. It really isn’t. That’s not how Specsavers works. And it’s not the way I run my business. We’re clinically focused. Whether you come in as a HAD, or you want to run your own business as an Audiology Partner, you can spread your wings with Specsavers. There are so many opportunities.
What’s the best part of running your own audiology business as a Specsavers Partner?
Away from the customer-facing side of the role, building a team and helping people to progress is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a Partner. I’ve always had the ethos of wanting to train and support people.
What skills do you need to be an Audiology Partner?
You’re running your own business, and you’re in charge, so you have to be driven and want to make a success of it. You have the freedom to manage your business how you want to, so you need to be creative and entrepreneurial to solve problems and take the right steps to grow your business.
There is so much support from Specsavers on all the different aspects of running a business. The most important thing for someone coming to Specsavers – either as a HAD or a business owner – is to be clinically focused, to care for every customer as though they were your own mum or dad, to give them back their hearing through your expertise. The rest takes care of itself.