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Monday / April 15.
HomeminewsNew Approach Needed for Dispenser Recruitment

New Approach Needed for Dispenser Recruitment

Optometry practice managers are being urged to reconsider their approach when employing optical assistants.

With a current shortage of staff across all areas of retail, James Gibbins, Director of the Australasian College of Optical Dispensing (ACOD), said the most effective way to attract staff with strong potential is to offer professional training and a career path, right from the start.

He said in doing so, practices and optical dispensers can also access generous financial incentives, currently available from the federal and local state governments, for training.

“The optical industry has two major problems in the current economic environment – the most serious is staff recruitment, the next is staff training,” said Mr Gibbins.

“ACOD is already addressing the second problem – employers have potentially qualified for over AU$30 million through traineeship study support payments via ACOD enrolments over the last three years… we can help with the first problem as well.”

ACOD has launched an expanded learning package that includes two full-day workshops for newly employed optical assistants. The workshops provide practical dispensing skills early on, ensuring they can immediately add value to practice workflow and patients.

Mr Gibbins said the workshops also quickly engage the interest of new staff members.


“My suggestion is that when advertising for new staff, practices specify up front that this is a career position; one that comes with the requirement to achieve a qualification, the training for which will be fully funded.

“Upon employment, register the new team member for the Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing. This will start the clock ticking on training payments to both you (the employer) and the employee, even before they commence the program.

“Following practice induction, you can start their learning with the free online ACOD / mivision Optical Assistant Essentials Courses. Then, they will be ready to participate in ACOD’s one day workshops, after which they will be academically prepared to undertake the Cert IV.”

The new full-day workshops, for which a fee applies, take place in all major capital cities alongside ACOD’s Cert IV workshops.

Mr Gibbins said ACOD is eager to partner with industry to bring about cultural change and has advertising templates available to help practices attract new staff.

“The optical industry has an unusual practice of employing new staff in a reception / administrative / sales assistant role, and waiting months or years before offering formal training. This delay means some financial training incentives are lost because the employee no longer qualifies for ‘new entrant’ benefits. Enrolling in the first three months of employment will have long term benefits for the entire industry.”