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HomeminewsProud OTEN Graduates Celebrate Achievements

Proud OTEN Graduates Celebrate Achievements

Optical Dispensers, freshly graduated from the Open Training and Education Network (OTEN) and Sydney Institute, celebrated their achievements with industry members, their family and friends in May at Sydney’s Dockside Restaurant in Darling Harbour.

The formal dinner and award presentation was hosted by James Gibbins, a teacher at OTEN and Sydney Institute. Ms. Cecelia Cilesio, one of the senior TAFE management present on the evening, delivered the opening welcome.

Martin Kocbek, President of the Australian Optical Dispensers Association (ADOA), addressed the graduates, congratulated them on their achievements, and reminded them to remain proud of their qualification and enthusiastic to be the best optical dispenser possible and to achieve the best outcomes for each patient.

Legend of the Industry

The evening’s guest of honour was John Jackson, OAM, former Chair of the Optical Dispensers Licencing Board (20 years) and former Chair of the Australian Dispensing Opticians Association (32 years).

A career lies ahead but the learning will never cease…

Mr. Jackson is widely referred to as ‘the
legend of the optical dispensing industry’. It was he who unintentionally introduced Australia’s first ever educational course in optical dispensing.

Having grown up in Australia, he undertook formal studies to become an optical mechanic in the United Kingdom. When he returned home some years later, Mr. Jackson’s employer at OPSM asked whether he still had his study papers. He did, and those papers formed the basis of the OPSM dispensing course, which later became the basis of the OTEN course.

Go For Greener Grass

During his presentation, Mr. Jackson inspired the graduates with his life experiences and urged them to continue their professional education and work to change the profession as it stands today. “You’ve heard the expression the grass is always greener. But that doesn’t mean you can’t knock the fence down, make a hole in it and move forward. Change the profession – nothing’s impossible, if you gather together you can do it,” he said.

Mr. Jackson said as a TAFE course, the OTEN qualification will enable optical dispensers to move around in the healthcare industry, but urged the young graduates to never stop learning.

“A career lies ahead but the learning will never cease. Each working day or week will bring a new challenge – never hesitate to ask advice, or to discuss a difficult prescription,” said
Mr. Jackson.

Award Presentations

Sixty-seven students celebrated their graduation from three courses: 63 students in optical dispensing; one in optical technology and three in ADOA Ophthalmic Practice Management. Forty-eight of those students graduated from OTEN and 19 from Sydney Institute.

The top awards for the evening were presented to Michelle Allan who received the Course Prize at OTEN; Akiko Miwa who was awarded the Course Prize at Sydney Institute. Ilia Saraev received the Practical Optical Dispensing Prize as well as the State Medal.

Graduates received their certificates from Ms. Janet Elms-Smith, the Relieving Director (Randwick) at Sydney Institute and Ms. Francesca Saccaro, the Associate Director of OTEN. Prizes were awarded by Mr. Kocbek and Mr. Grant Hannaford, VICE President of ADOA who presented the prize for Ophthalmic Practice Management. Ms Foonghar Chong, Director of Education Western Sydney Institute presented the TAFE NSW State Medal. There were just two State Medals awarded to students among the 50,000 enrolled at OTEN in 2012.