“It feels incredible to have my efforts recognised”
AOP Awards 2020 Newly-qualified Optometrist of the Year, Adam Matthews, offers advice for those starting out in the industry
When did you qualify?
I graduated from university in July 2015 and passed the pre-reg period in the summer of 2016.
How does it feel to be named the AOP Awards 2020 Newly-qualified Optometrist of the Year?
It feels incredible to have my efforts recognised by people outside of my day-to-day environment, especially those who are experts within their fields.
What does winning an AOP award mean to you?
Winning an AOP award is a validation of the tireless work that has gone into the early years of my career. Working within an industry alongside many other high achieving professionals, it can be challenging to stand out. That’s why winning, or even being nominated for this award, is so special.
We get great satisfaction from helping our customers and being part of the community
What advice would you give to others just starting out in the profession?
Go after it. Jump when opportunities present themselves. The profession can become repetitive and too many people will stay doing what they are doing for too long. There are many different routes to take with optometry; keep it interesting and don't be afraid to change roles to find the area that suits you. Don’t limit yourself to location; be flexible. Sometimes the best opportunities for the future aren’t always on your doorstep. You won’t always have years of business and management courses under your belt to prepare you for a new opportunity, but that’s okay.
The optical industry is a changing market. The High Street, the way people shop, and the way people find you, are all changing. Be adaptable, be fresh, be different. Keep up to date with changes in the profession, and the latest technology changes or product changes that you could offer to your patients. Understand your patients’ individual needs but also be aware of your demographics and market. Find your niche and what works. What do patients want clinically and what do customers want commercially?