SPOKE releases third project looking at admissions and recruitment, for optometry and dispensing optics qualifications

The Sector Partnership for Optical Knowledge and Education (SPOKE), a cross-sector collaboration funded by the General Optical Council (GOC), led by The College of Optometrists, and managed by a steering group comprising representatives from the College, the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) and the Optometry Schools Council (OSC), has published the outputs of its third project.

This project titled ‘Admissions and Recruitment: State of the Art and Plans for the Future’ considers current admissions processes, attracting the right calibre of candidates and how interest in optical careers can be increased. Data was collected through desk-based research and from university representatives coupled with sector stakeholder discussions and an online survey.

Professor Lizzy Ostler, Director of Education for The College of Optometrists, says: “Whilst this project set out to establish patterns in course recruitment practices, it revealed a real need for the promotion of optical careers to the next generation, to attract, develop and retain future optical professionals. Findings from this project show resounding support for employer-facilitated outreach across the sector and it is hoped that work will now be carried out to produce materials at a national level that can be deployed locally.”

Steve Brooker, GOC Director of Regulatory Strategy, says: “With demand for eye care growing, the clinical roles of professionals expanding and a modernised qualifications system, this should be a great time to promote careers in optical services to the next generation. We welcome the latest SPOKE report into admissions and recruitment and look forward to working with stakeholders to consider the findings and boost interest in optical careers.”

Work is also underway on SPOKE project four – Supervision Guidance. This guidance is being developed in consultation with a wide range of sector stakeholders and aims to describe the current consensus on the characteristics of good practice in supervision of clinical and experiential learning. It will be published later in the year.

Over the coming months, the SPOKE Steering Group will also be reviewing potential topics for project five and would welcome feedback on a number of proposals. If you would like to input into the selection of project five, please complete the short survey.

The full project report is available on the SPOKE website.

You can find out more information about SPOKE on the website: www.spokehub.org.uk alternatively, you can contact SPOKE via email: spokehub@college-optometrists.org