New feature being added to AIO conference

Special event to launch in October for people thinking of setting up their own independent practice

The Vale Resort, Cardiff

Booking will open this Saturday (9 April) for the annual conference of the Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians (AIO).

AIO believes that the conference, which will be held at the Vale Resort in Cardiff (pictured) on 9–10 October, will be its biggest and has added a new feature which is expected to generate a lot of interest.

Alongside the main lecture programme and CET break-out sessions, this year a separate event will be held for people who aspire to move into independent practice, either through acquisition or as a startup operation.

The programme will include all aspects of setting up or acquiring a business, such as marketing, finance, acquiring equipment and insurance. Delegates will also be able to hear first-hand the experiences of people who have recently taken the plunge.

AIO vice chairman and organiser of this year’s conference, Keith Pearce, said: “2016 will mark a number of firsts for our annual conference – we will be visiting Wales for the first time and we will have more than 200 delegates in attendance for the first time. We will also hold a new and unique event for those who aspire to work in the independent sector.”

He explained: “We know that there are many people working in the multiple sector, and people who are newly qualified, that would dearly love to own and run their own practice, but don’t know how to go about it.

“Our job as the only professional not-for-profit body that exclusively represents independents is to provide help and create a roadmap that shows the move is not as daunting as some may think.”

The 2016 conference will also feature an informal Saturday night dinner on 8 October and a formal gala dinner on Sunday 9 October.

Booking for the conference will open officially at Optrafair (9–11 April, Birmingham NEC) on the AIO stand, C61. Pre-registrations can also be made by emailing [email protected]

For more information, visit the AIO’s website.