STEP success

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care extends its student support programme and is seeking input from pre-reg and newly-qualified optometrists to help shape its 2016 course

STEP success

More than 300 optometry undergraduates from eight UK universities and almost half of all pre-registration optometrists enrolled on Johnson & Johnson Vision Care’s (J&J) new Success Through Education Program (STEP) last year, the contact lens manufacturer has confirmed.

Entering its second year, the 2016 programme will open to second-year students from Ulster University, as well as those on the University of Bradford’s BSc Career Progression course for dispensing opticians, for the first time.

J&J has also recruited a group of students who are enrolled on the current programme to help shape future development.

Launched in January 2015, STEP was established to “provide continuous support for the next generation of eye care professionals, from their penultimate year at university through to qualified practice,” the contact lens company said.

Manager of the UK Vision Care Institute, Sheetal Patel, added: “The ultimate outcome is patient-focused and highly motivated optometrists who help patients, employers and their profession.”

The programme encourages learning through a range of formats including digital activities and hands-on clinical workshops. Undergraduates, pre-regs and newly-qualified optometrists alike are also invited to attend a dedicated course at the Pinewood-based Institute.

Speaking about STEP, newly-qualified optometrist, Zakwan Hassan, who was one of the first to enroll when the programme was a pilot, commented: “STEP is a great supplement to what you learn and go through at university, to help the transition from student to qualified clinician. It really helps a lot with that journey. I would 100% recommend STEP to others. It’s been nothing but helpful."