Pete Taylor - Retail Director
What is your name?
What company do you currently work for?
What is your job title?
Provide a brief description of your business
We are a community opticians, providing sight tests and looking after eye health on behalf of the NHS. We sell optical devices such as spectacles and contact lenses and we also offer audiology services such as wax removal and private hearing aid dispensing.
Describe your career pathway after leaving school
It was fairly circuitous after starting a first degree in Electronic Engineering and realising that it wasn't for me I went on to study Psychology instead. After university, I started working full-time as a Sales Person for Currys (having worked there part-time to support my studies financially) and worked my way through their management program - this was never my intended path but just worked for me at the time. In amongst all that, I completed my training to be a Hypnotherapist and also took some time out to manage a Specsavers branch in Ireland and this is when I fell in love with their approach to patient care and blending retail with healthcare. From there, I went back to Currys for a few years and waited for the right opportunity to come up in Specsavers and, eight years ago, had the opportunity to buy into the Elgin practice as a local partner and owner. This has allowed me to utilise all the various skills I have developed over the years and it feels like everything was very much pointing to this all those years ago even if I didn't know it at the time.
What school subjects would be helpful for your job role?
English and Maths were helpful in all areas of work but I also found elements of my Science subjects came in useful at different times. Good IT skills have also really helped me in day-to-day work place activities.
What is your favourite thing about the work that you do?
Every day presents a different challenge and I can truly say that I am never bored in work. I am constantly learning new things and I love the interactions with colleagues and patients alike. I am definitely a people person and thrive on building relationships.
Why did you want to work in this industry?
It makes the very best use of my skills and healthcare is a very rewarding setting to work in.
Did you ever want to pursue another career?
Yes, and I have plenty of transferrable skills but I know I am where I should be for now.
What does a typical day in your role involve?
I generally split my time between working front of house and back of house. Front of house generally involves welcoming patients into the practice, coordinating clinics, ensuring highest levels of service on offer at all times and maintaining excellent retail standards. Back of house is everything from booking optometrist cover, interviewing and recruiting new colleagues, appraisals, strategy meetings, DYW meetings and a whole host of other things.
What skills are required to do your job?
- Great communication skills
- Emotional intelligence
- Organisation - everything needs diarised and planned as it's a busy and demanding role and you need to balance supporting needs of others alongside getting the job done
What is your advice to young people who are considering working in this sector?
Get in touch with us (Specsavers Elgin) and see if we can host work place visit for you. We have many roles in our organisation and it's not just about doing an optometry degree to be an optician. Plenty of our team have joined us straight from school as Trainee Optical Assistants and are now working through management and professional qualifications. If you want to be an Optometrist, then please also speak to us as we can talk about the role and the degree which is now available at the University of the Highlands and Islands as well as Glasgow Caledonian University.
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Here at DYW Moray, we'd like to encourage those of you who are employed in Moray to share your career story with us so that we can promote these to Moray's young people. Go on, share your career story now!