J&J launches student support programme

The scheme will support optometry students as they transition into newly-qualified optometrists

JJ launches student support programme
Contact lens giant, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, has established a new programme that is designed to support optometry students as they transition into newly-qualified optometrists.

Launched at the company’s Vision Care Institute in Pinewood earlier this month, the Success Through Education Programme (STEP) is seeking to enroll 300 students during its first year, which accounts for 45% of the estimated number of optometry graduates.

STEP is designed to support students from their penultimate year at university to when they quality, via a range of tailored, blended learning which includes hands-on educational training at the institute.

Manager of the Institute, Sheetal Patel, said: “There will be emphasis on supporting skills, knowledge and competence in the area of contact lens practice, which has been highlighted as an area where there is a significant shortfall.

“STEP will also provide a platform for us to interact with the students enrolled on the programme first hand, allowing our knowledgeable faculty to support them in shaping, not only their education, but also their careers.”

Coinciding with the launch, the Institute hosted a meeting with optical bodies and optometry universities which aimed to act as a forum to discuss professionalism and professional development in optometry.

Representatives from the AOP, BCLA, FODO, the College of Optometrists and the GOC attended, alongside academics and undergraduates from the majority of the UK’s optometry schools.

Ms Patel added: “We were delighted to bring the key stakeholders together and see that they are broadly aligned in the need to support the development of professionalism that reflects the roles and responsibilities of the modern day optometrist in contemporary practice.”