From Saturday girl to optometrist

Pre-reg returns to practice that inspired her to become an optometrist

Eleanor Swystun

An optometry graduate is completing her pre-reg placement at the independent practice that inspired her to become an optometrist more than five years ago.

Eleanor Swystun applied for a Saturday job at Valli Opticians, which has practices across Yorkshire and the north west, when she was 16 years old and unsure about what career path she wanted to take. Inspired by the practice, Ms Swystun graduated with a degree in optometry at the University of Manchester this summer and has returned to the practice to complete her final year to qualification.

Speaking about the journey, the 21-year-old said: “I got in touch with Moin Valli, CEO of the group when I was still at college. I knew I wanted to work in science, but I was not sure exactly in what particular field. I knew I wanted to help people, but I didn’t want to be a doctor and wanted to explore the alternatives.”

Impressed by Ms Swystun, Mr Valli, owner of the 14-practice group, offered her a permanent role as a Saturday girl and kept her on while she studied for her degree. On graduation, he said he had he had no hesitation in offering her a pre-reg placement and hopes she will stay after she is fully qualified.