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After considering a career in Hairdressing and Hotel Management, my enlightenment came after spending a week in an optical practice in 1978 with my sister, Christine Harm. I had found my niche; I was fifteen years old when I made my mind up to become a Dispensing Optician. More than forty years later, I’m still filled with the same enthusiasm and satisfaction. 


Bradford University Logo

In 1979, I enrolled at Bradford College as a full-time student. I was fortunate to work part-time at Conlon Opticians throughout the holidays and during my Pre-Registration year, which gave me a solid foundation that I’ll always cherish. I worked with two wonderful supervisors who were knowledgeable Professionals. They were great mentors and created a professional attitude in me, which I still draw upon today.

After qualifying as a Dispensing Optician in 1984, I continued in a full-time position at Conlon Opticians. In 1986 I was selected to train Optical Assistants and Dispensing Optician Managers at the Miller & Santhouse Optical Group; this was when I discovered that I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my knowledge and practical skills.

Vector art of a grduation hat and scroll for ABDO qualification
ABDO logo

In 1987 I became an ABDO Practical Examiner and had the pleasure of lecturing and examining in the UK and overseas.

Around 1989, Miller & Santhouse Optical Group was acquired by Boots Opticians, and I was seconded to Nottingham Head Office, where I was appointed to write Optical Assistant training courses.

When I returned home to the Wirral as a practice manager in 1992, I felt a desire to develop my training skills. Therefore I enrolled on a night school course to gain an Adult Education Teacher’s Certificate.

Vector art of a grduation hat and scroll for CertEd qualification

I consider I completed an apprenticeship spanning more than a decade comprising of Dispensing, Management, Training, and Examining. These were the firm foundations of my career.

Anglia Ruskin University Logo

In 1993 I was encouraged to apply for a full-time teaching post at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. This was a massive step for me; it meant moving away from home, making new friends, teaching lessons, marking work, writing exam papers, and mentoring young people. 

In 1997, I moved to London and worked in a similar role at City University. I consider both Anglia Ruskin University and City University essential chapters in my educational journey.

City University Logo
Identity Optical Training Logo

In 1999, I created a training company called Identity Optical Training, where I delivered face-to-face training courses for all sectors of the optical profession. 

In 2001 I was invited to teach at ABDO College, where I taught for 21years.


During my time at ABDO, I took the opportunity to progress my qualification further by achieving a BSc with honours. 

ABDO College Logo

Encouraging people and unlocking their potential is a particular part of my role that I relish, and all my experiences to date have led me to this realisation.


I’m very proud to have taught a fantastic group of people over the years who have progressed to become Lecturers, Lens Account Managers, Professional Services Managers, Orthoptists, Hospital Opticians, Low Vision Opticians, Contact Lens Opticians, Optometrists, Examiners, Company Directors, and the current Head of ABDO Exams.


After recognising the need to support trainee Dispensing Opticians and their employers, I began writing CPD (CET) articles in 2011. I wrote many articles for the Optician magazine, Optometry Today and Dispensing Optics, and delivered sessions for Specsavers at their annual PAC conferences. Over the years, I’ve also provided numerous CPDs at the 100% Optical trade shows. 


With more than four decades of experience in Optics, the company that I formed back in 1999, Identity Optical Training, has now progressed and developed into SpecsEducation with Sally to serve an ever-changing industry with online training courses targeted to student Dispensing Opticians and Optical Assistants alike.

If you’re at the start of your journey or looking to grow your skills further, I hope you enjoy learning with me as much as I enjoy educating you!

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