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Tuesday / July 16.
HomeminewsCareers Expo a Huge Success

Careers Expo a Huge Success

The inaugural OAA Vic Careers Expo held late February, attended by 68 fourth and fifth year optometry students, was a huge success according to organisers.

“We were really pleased with the Careers Expo. I’m sure this will become a regular event on our calendar,” said Terri Smith, CEO OAA Vic.

The students lapped up a two hour presentation that provided an opportunity for students to learn about the Optometrists Association Australia, get advice about contracts, finance and other employment matters and to hear from a panel of four students who graduated at the end of 2008 about their experiences in working as an optometrist.

The highlight of the presentation session was the one hour panel discussion. The four young optometrists on the panel had been specifically selected for their range of work experience. They provided advice for students thinking about signing up for their first job and offered the students some great tips, including:

  • Know what your priorities are and it will be easier to choose the job that’s right for you.
  • If you don’t like people you are not going to like being an optometrist.
  • After studying so long it is great to be able to do it yourself – without talking to your adviser. Having said that, you also realise pretty quickly that you still have a lot to learn.

Panellist Rogan Fraser told his stories of working in a rural practice and developing his interest in children’s vision.

Bao Nguyen talked about heading to the country for her first job – just to get the experience of being away from home. Bao has now started work on her PhD but still practices as an optometrist on Saturdays in suburban Springvale.

Stephanie Hardy stayed close to home working for OPSM. She is enjoying her job and finds that she is still learning how to best communicate with the more difficult patients.

Jessica Foong left Melbourne for Bendigo and is still enjoying the challenges both of her position and country life.

OAA members and corporate optometry practices were invited to ‘exhibit’ so that they had an opportunity to make contact with the students. Leaving the presentation session, all students took the opportunity to work the room and meet with prospective employers. Most participated in the passport competition that encouraged them to visit all 23 exhibitors. The Exhibition room was noisy and full of energy as students worked their way around the room and employers promoted their positions.

“We want to make sure members get a chance to meet the students. Even if they don’t have a position to offer immediately,” said Ms Smith.

“In this tough employment market it is worth making connections with the students and trying to stay in touch.”