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Applications open for 2021 AOP student representatives

The association is seeking student representatives from optometry courses across the country to help develop student initiatives and services

AOP student reps

The AOP is seeking applications from optometry students interested in becoming AOP student representatives for the upcoming year.

Applications are open to second year optometry students, or third years at Glasgow Caledonian University. The AOP said it is looking for “enthusiastic, proactive” students, those already closely involved with their Optometry Society, and potentially on or standing for the committee.

Representing optometry courses across the country, the 14 AOP student reps will be involved in helping develop student initiatives and shape support and services.

The AOP highlighted that becoming a student rep presents a rare opportunity to get more involved in the profession and become the voice for fellow students. Representatives will have the opportunity to enhance their learning opportunities and employability, as well as being part of a team that is “dedicated to improving the optometry profession.”

This is an amazing opportunity to start your AOP journey and learn and develop new skills that will aid you in your career as an optometrist

Luke McRoy-Jones, pre-reg optometrist and AOP council member

Describing the experience of being a student representative, pre-reg optometrist and AOP councillor, Luke McRoy-Jones, shared: “Not only does the position allow you to network with likeminded optometry students and form new connections, but becoming a student representative will allow you to work on new student initiatives and learn more about the wider work of the AOP, such as policy.

“Sitting on the student committee, you’ll have your say and represent your peers at a key time for the profession and specifically for optometry education,” he continued, adding, “With the ongoing Education Strategic Review, the impact of COVID-19, and the NHS Outpatient Transformation Programme, there is a real opportunity to shape your future profession.”

To any student interested in representing their peers and considering applying, Mr McRoy-Jones added: “This is an amazing opportunity to start your AOP journey and learn and develop new skills that will aid you in your career as an optometrist.”

Positions run from January – December 2021, with interested students asked to complete an application form and return it to [email protected] by 7 December.

What I’ve enjoyed about being a student rep…

Over this year, AOP student representatives have shared what they have enjoyed about being a student rep.

Reflecting on his experience, Luke McRoy-Jones told OT: “Becoming a student representative was just the start of my journey with the AOP. Just under two years ago, I joined the AOP as the student representative for the University of Plymouth and today, I sit on our Council, policy committee and I also chair the student committee, which is made up of our 14 student representatives.

“I thoroughly enjoy my commitments with the AOP and have had the opportunity to work on several exciting student initiatives and contribute to crucial policy work as the profession is presented with new challenges and opportunities,” he added.

Mr McRoy-Jones pointed to attending 100% Optical and the AOP Awards as his key highlights as a student representative, sharing: “It was a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the new friendships and connections I had forged with the fellow student representatives, the AOP team and the wider profession.

“These new connections aided the return of Opfest in 2019, and helped provide optometry students across the country with more enrichment opportunities.”

I thoroughly enjoy my commitments with the AOP and have had the opportunity to work on several exciting student initiatives and contribute to crucial policy work

Luke McRoy-Jones, pre-reg optometrist and AOP council member

Speaking to OT earlier this year, Oliver Rose, third-year student at Glasgow Caledonian University, shared that as a student representative he enjoyed meeting the different teams across the AOP and hearing about the work that goes on in the association.

He added: “It was also fun meeting students from different universities, at different stages of being a student. It gave me an opportunity to see how optometry differs around the UK.”

Fatema Master, second-year student at City, University of London, shared: “Being a student representative has given me the chance to communicate with different departments of the AOP and to develop an understanding of its role in the optometry field.”

Discussing her role as a student rep over the past year, she told OT: “I have been in touch with my fellow peers at City University regarding current events and any guidance they are looking for from the AOP for concerns they may have, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Optometry student at the University of Huddersfield, Iqra Saeed, told OT: “Being an AOP representative has involved collaborating with members from different optometry courses in the UK. I enjoy this role because we can share different ideas and address issues that may be relevant to all optometry courses.”

For more details on becoming a student representative and to download the application form, visit the AOP website.