Lens manufacturer Essilor has celebrated the work of local teenagers who have spent six weeks at its Thornbury facility on a project that combines learning about eye health with designing telescopes.
The milestone forms part of a wider educational mission for Essilor that sees it work with local schools, screening pupils to raise awareness of the importance of regular eye care.
Students of Castle School in Thornbury spent the six weeks working alongside Essilor employees at the plant to design and produce a telescope, microscope, spyglass, handmade specs and a focimeter.
The company marked the students’ achievements during a “passing out” ceremony that was attended by parents, teachers and the mayor of Thornbury, councillor Helen Harrison. The teenagers presented their creations to visitors, received certificates and were able to keep the products they had made.
Managing director of Essilor UK, Mike Kirkley, said: “We have an opportunity to support schools to ensure every child reaches their potential and help provide a window to employment by showing students skills that will have a practical use later in their lives. Working with Castle School and now Marlwood, we have a fantastic opportunity to help make a difference to these young and talented individuals.”
Essilor’s partnership with Castle School was established by its head of quality, Pete Dodd, and the school’s geography teacher, Garry Atterton. At the beginning of the partnership, Essilor sent a team in to screen the school’s hundreds of children.
The company has also worked with Charfield Primary School, where young children produced their own newspaper, the Charfield Chatter. The students interviewed Mr Kirkley and sold advertising space locally through cold calling.
The Charfield schoolchildren and Mr Kirkley were filmed for the regional BBC Points West programme at the Essilor facility. “The children were inspirational,” concluded Mr Kirkley.