The academic year has now finished and the WCSM Education Trust has been very pleased to note the progress of its first tranche of bursary winners.
From more than 240 applications received on launch of the scheme in July 2016, 25 award winners were selected to receive a bursary of £1,000. Their courses ranged from block release dispensing diplomas through to degrees in orthoptics and optometry, covering 10 different UK institutions.
On the basis of progress reports submitted to the trustees in April 2017, two students, Karla Mackenzie and Chioma Ezenwoye, were invited to attend a special lunch at Apothecaries’ Hall in June to meet leading members of optical professions and find out more about the different career paths taken by Liverymen of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers.
Chioma, who is studying for a BMedSci (Honours) degree in orthoptics at Sheffield University, said, “It was such an honour to be able to meet and chat to many members and guests, including the President of the British and Irish Orthoptic Society, the professional body which represents orthoptists. The bursary has helped to relieve a lot of the burden of accommodation costs both at the University and while I am out on work placements. I really appreciate the support WCSM is giving me as a future employee in the optical sector.”
Karla has used her bursary to help with travel costs from her home in the north of Scotland to ABDO College in Kent to pursue her aim of becoming a dispensing optician. She said “Being awarded the bursary has opened so many doors for me. I have just recently celebrated fifteen years in practice and I am eager to learn and do even more. Over the next five years I would like to qualify as a dispensing optician and then I would really like to specialise in low vision. Living in the remote Highlands, I see the problems faced by elderly patients and I really aspire to be able to help patients like these live safer lives. I strive to improve in practice every day and I am so grateful for the help this bursary has given me.”