The Australasian College of Optical Dispensing (ACOD) has responded to widespread employer, student and prospective student feedback, with the development of a new program of delivery for the Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing.
According to Mr Gibbins, there is widespread agreement throughout the optical industry of a greater need for dispenser training, however courses need to evolve to meet employer and employee needs.
“Employers who advertise for a qualified dispenser often report receiving few if any applicants. In addition, most optical lab managers will tell you the quality of lens ordering has been falling for years, with sometimes ridiculous and impossible lens orders being placed. As an industry we need to address this lack of training, and the training needs to be more accessible and flexible than ever before.
ACOD’s new program comprises additional online learning materials, recorded presentations and live, interactive webinars, blended with three face-to-face, workshops of three days each, spread over the 12-month program.
“That’s nine days in total of in-person workshops to support the online lens theory, to demonstrate and practise the many dispensing practical skills and to conduct the final assessments,” says James Gibbins, co-founder and a director of ACOD.
Workshops are typically held from Monday to Wednesday, 9:00am to 5:00pm and will now be available in every capital city in Australia.
Explaining the change, Mr Gibbins said, “Previous dispensing programs have included a higher number of workshops, which were becoming increasingly difficult for students to attend and for employers to release students to.
“After widespread discussion, the feedback has been overwhelming in the belief that three workshops will reduce the travel and time commitments for face-to-face workshops while still providing students with the in-class support that assists their learning and skills development, and indeed what ACOD has become noted for.”
“At ACOD we like to have a positive outlook, so we are believing and planning for reduced COVID-19 impact in 2021. To that end, we have already booked our workshop program for next year, with the first workshop to be held in February, the second in July and the third and final workshop in November. This will allow students to make advanced progress on their programs this year, and be comfortably course complete by November next year.
“Enrolments can occur any time up to about three weeks before the first workshop, but we strongly encourage prospective students not to wait that long – enrol earlier rather than later and use this lead up time productively.”
ACOD now has 10 teachers available throughout Australia and New Zealand to assist students with their study, and the organisation has secured access to a huge number of state government subsidies and federally funded traineeships that can substantially reduce course fees. In some cases, financial support for training is also available to employers.
For more information on the new course program and the generous subsidies available, refer to the ACOD website or contact the college directors James Gibbins or Chedy Kalach.