Specsavers optician inspires senior school students in Southall

VILLIERS High School was buzzing last week when over 40 local businesses attended the end of term Careers Conference.

Organised by Ealing Connexions Careers Advisers, the business professionals met with over 600 students who ranged from Years 8 and 10 – 12 and 13 year olds to Lower 6th formers, aged 16 and 17, all of whom were keen to find out more about potential careers and the pathway to achieving them.

The style of the Careers Conference provided the opportunity for the students to pose questions directly to the experts in their fields and probe into the subjects they might need to study at GCSE and ‘A’ Level, and further qualifications in higher education or university. Apprenticeships were also discussed, as they offer practical, hands-on training whilst studying.

Ophthalmic director, Irinder Singh Khakha from Specsavers Hayes who is highly respected within Specsavers having received the prestigious Doug and Dame Mary Perkins medal in 2022 for clinical expertise and dedication to his profession was on hand to field an array of questions from the eager pupils during the morning’s Career Conference.

Mr Khakha said: ‘Attending the Careers Conference was a delightful experience. I firmly believe that providing young individuals with the chance to explore their career aspirations first-hand is crucial. The Conference provided the opportunity for the students to gain insights into potential pitfalls, necessary qualifications, and avenues for advancement within a variety of careers.

‘Moreover, it provided a practical and pragmatic way to assess their suitability within specific fields and professions. Overall, I believe such events play a pivotal role in shaping the students’ future career path.’

Accompanied by Specsavers Hayes, Store Manager, Ritu Daga, the eager students learned about the importance of having a sight test, what is involved and the sort of things that it can pick up, including underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure, the onset of macular degeneration and glaucoma. They also wanted to know what it was like to work for Specsavers, as it is such a well-known and iconic high street brand.

With the vast choice of work and study options available to students these days, inviting local businesses, employers and education providers into the school, to pose questions seems a great way for the students to find out more first-hand from local professionals and higher education providers.

This Careers Conference has formed part of a 2024 programme of careers events organised by Ealing Connexions for schools across Ealing. Connexions’ Careers Guidance Adviser, Shaminder Bahra, is based at Villiers High School on Thursdays and Fridays. She said: ‘We really appreciate the support of local businesses, who make a huge contribution to the success of these events. Having the opportunity to meet local employers, discuss first-hand any queries and ask questions helps them build up their own knowledge, and form goals and aspirations as they go forward into the world of work.

‘Often these career events act as a real catalyst for students who are not be sure which direction to go in and helps provide them with a more solid plan moving forward. We are really pleased that Irinder and Ritu were able to support today’s event, as we appreciate how busy they are. The students enjoyed finding out more about the science of eyesight from an expert in his field.’

As an organisation, Specsavers encourages their staff to further their qualifications and progress their careers within the group. The Specsavers Career Pathway offers staff the opportunity to study for industry recognised qualifications which encompass a wide variety of roles including customer services, optician, dispensing optician, optical assistant, and audiology assistant.

For anyone who wants to check out if their eyesight or hearing is in tip top condition, you can contact Specsavers Hayes on 020 8756 4980 or you can also book online: https://www.specsavers.co.uk/stores/hayes