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New AOP mentoring programme launched

New AOP mentoring programme launched

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is launching its new AOP Mentoring Programme for newly-qualified optometrists and dispensing opticians.

Free and exclusive to AOP members, the new mentoring programme is designed to support a mentee over three to six months to help them achieve development goals in their optical career.

Newly-qualified optometrists who take up the programme, will have the opportunity to work with an experienced, qualified professional in the sector to set their development goals, grow skills and confidence and gain professional insights.

Commercial Director at the AOP, Wendy Steele explains: “Knowledge sharing is a fundamental part of everyone’s professional development and career progression. With practitioners having faced extraordinary challenges during the pandemic – now, more than ever, you may want to seek the support, wisdom and expertise of an experienced practitioner and mentor. We hope that it will be an enriching experience for our members who are just starting out in their careers.”

There are currently more than 50 mentors to assist in the programme – with numbers set to increase. All AOP mentors are experienced optometrists with a wealth of knowledge spanning independent and multiple High Street optometric practice, hospital eye departments and academia.

Ms Steele added: “The programme is self-service – giving mentees complete control to choose the right mentor, and the flexibility to make the mentoring experience work for them.”

Newly-qualified members can view mentor profiles on the AOP website at to find out more about their specialisms. Mentees can receive support in a range of areas, including:

• Clinical management
• Confidence building/dealing with doubt
• Communication (patients)
• Career progression
• Adjusting to change
• Self-development (core skills)/self-led learning and CET/CPD
• NHS Performers (how to get on list and obligations)
• Relationship management/working with others
• NHS awareness
• Referral best practice

The mentoring programme forms part of the AOP’s existing professional-development and support services.

The AOP is currently looking at a further roll-out of the programme to additional membership grades.

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