Training 2000 tutor Tony Douglass has donated Optical learning materials to the charity Vision Aid Overseas to upskill eye health workers in developing countries.

Award winning Training 2000 has been established for over 50 years and are a large Group Training Association. In 2017, Training 2000 became part of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The training provider delivers a variety of Traineeship and Apprenticeship programmes including level 2 Optical Assistant that is delivered nationwide.

Optical Assistants have to interpret and understand a clinically issued prescription, its effects on the eye, and the customer’s vision. They need to be able to identify the appropriate spectacles to meet the customer’s needs and be able to explain the features and benefits of these, using non-technical customer friendly language. This Apprenticeship aims to give the students the knowledge and confidence to do just that.

For many years Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) have upskilled eye health workers in developing countries, this includes; testing eyes (refraction), dispensing, low vision and glazing/workshop skills.

The VAO Refraction Course is a 6-week course recently run in Zambia, with around 20 eye health workers – mainly Optical Clinical Officers and Ophthalmic Nurses – each year from various hospitals/clinics, away from the main city hospitals.

Prior to Covid-19, it was decided to update VAO learning materials and it became an ideal piece of work to do during the last year.

Rupal Lovell-Patel, the Academic lead of Vision Sciences at UCLan was approached by the charity to provide dispensing training materials to help train Optical staff in developing countries.

Through the close relationship between UCLan and Training 2000, Rupal contacted Tony at Training 2000 to see if we could provide material for learners beginning their training in dispensing ophthalmic lens and frames.

Training 2000s Optical tutor Tony Douglass, was able to donate a variety of material for overseas learners starting their Optical career.

Tony was able to provide PowerPoint presentation slides and tutor notes for a variety of topics including;

  • Ophthalmic lens materials
  • Lens properties, features, and benefits
  • Ophthalmic lens coatings and tints
  • Frame materials and construction methods

Sometimes the materials are used as standalone modules for other training sessions, for instance VAO have Optometry Technicians in Sierra Leone, who are trained in Gambia in refraction, dispensing and workshop skills. Some of the materials are also used to provide some continued professional development training.

Vision Aid Overseas are currently developing course materials for Paediatric Optometry and Case Management which will initially be delivered to Optometrists and Ophthalmologists in Ethiopia. Some of the sessions from the refraction course using the material donated by Training 2000 can be used or adapted for these courses.

If you would like to learn more about Training 2000s Optical Assistant Apprenticeship or any of their other programmes visit: www.training2000.co.uk

For more information on the teaching and training carried out by Vision Aid Oversees visit: https://www.visionaidoverseas.org/teaching-and-training

If you would like to support Vision Aid Overseas, you could take part in their summer fundraising challenge – Go For Glasses. To find out more visit: www.visionaidoverseas.org/go-for-glasses

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