From optics to audiology

Qualified dispensing optician and hearing aid dispenser at OutsideClinic, Phil Wilson, discusses a varied career that is driven by his enthusiasm for learning

Phil Wilson

It was an advert in an opticians window that led Phil Wilson (pictured) into a career in optics. “I had just finished university without a degree and was looking into my career options,” he told OT.

With a background in physics, Mr Wilson sailed through the required Maths and English exams and was successfully appointed as an optical adviser at Dollond & Aitchison in Reading following an interview.

After nine months in a role that he said he was “thoroughly enjoying,” the opportunity to train as a dispensing optician with the company arose. “I really liked the idea going back to education and applying myself in order to gain a formal qualification,” Mr Wilson said.

He subsequently completed the qualification through a day release programme, successfully balancing work and study for the first time.

During his career, Mr Wilson has regularly completed additional learning alongside employment. “I have experience of studying full-time to working full-time, to studying and working. It is a balance that at times can be difficult today, but I thoroughly enjoy it,” he shared.

Professional options

Over the years, Mr Wilson has gained experience in a variety of roles, from dispensing optician to practice manager and optical trainer.

As an optical trainer at OutsideClinic at the time when the business was extending its services into audiology, Mr Wilson was given the opportunity to work on the hearing care side of its offering part-time.

“My role involved doing observations on the audiologists, checking that the necessary procedures were being followed. In addition, for new starters, my role involved introducing them to procedures and ensuring that they understood how things work,” Mr Wilson explained.

Mr Wilson’s time in hearing care later inspired the next step in his career, to train to become a hearing aid assistant and, more recently, as a hearing aid dispenser.

Supported by OutsideClinic, Mr Wilson completed training to become a hearing aid assistant through a two-year distance learning programme with Anglia Ruskin University. He is also now part way through a block release course to become a hearing aid dispenser at the same institution. “It has been a great opportunity to learn and work on the go,” Mr Wilson shared.

“I am grateful to work for a company that sees the value of further training. I personally think that a keen and dedicated individual should be supported and given opportunities to maximise their potential, and OutsideClinic is helping me to achieve this,” he added.

Speaking about opportunities to continue learning during his career, Mr Wilson emphasised that: “There are plenty of opportunity in optics and audiology to keep on learning, you just have to embrace them.”

Keep on learning

Today, Mr Wilson seeks to ensure that he is always learning.

“For me, learning is good for the brain and it keeps me stimulated. It’s a desire to gain qualifications as I am capable of it,” he said.

On balancing full-time work with a busy family life and learning, Mr Wilson said that while at times it can be difficult, he always ensures that he is home to read his son a bedtime story before later getting his laptop out to study.

“Always having something on the horizon to learn and look forward to keeps me going. Learning makes me want to do better in my job,” he said.

Sharing advice for others considering additional learning, Mr Wilson said: “Keep on expanding your skillset, you never know what opportunities will arise in front of you if you do.”