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Association News
1 May 2015
Issue 156
ABDO board - Election of directors 2015

There will be three board places open for election in 2015. Two seats are currently held by members entitled to seek re-election, they are Keith Cavaye and Kevin Milsom. In addition, a vacancy has arisen due to the resignation of Kevin Gutsell on his appointment as CEO for the FMO.

Nominations are sought from fully qualified members of the Association who wish to make a meaningful contribution to the future of the profession.

For more information and to download the nomination form click here.

Completed nomination papers should be returned to the General Secretary, ABDO, 199 Gloucester Terrace, London W2 6LD no later than 10am on Friday 19 June 2015.

Those elected will take up their duties on Saturday 19 September 2015. Their period of office will be for three years.

ABDO annual meetings

Saturday 19 September 2015

ABDO Benevolent Fund annual meeting

The twenty seventh annual meeting of the Benevolent Fund will be held at 4.45pm on Saturday 19 September 2015, at The Lancaster Suite, The Midland Hotel, Peter Street, Manchester M60 2DS.


  1. Welcome by the Chairman of the Benevolent Fund Management Committee, Jennifer Brower
  2. Presentation of the 2014 annual report and accounts
  3. Questions to the Benevolent Fund Management Committee
  4. Close of meeting

ABDO annual meeting

The twenty ninth annual meeting of the Association will be held immediately after the ABDO Benevolent Fund annual meeting.


  1. Welcome by the ABDO President, Peter Black
  2. Presentation of the 2014 annual report and accounts
  3. Questions to the ABDO President and Board
  4. Close of meeting

ABDO members wishing to attend these two meetings are kindly requested to inform Jane Burnand by email at by Tuesday 1 September 2015.

Forthcoming ABDO CET events
Book online now!
Darlington - Tuesday 5 May 2015 Read More
Newbury - Sunday 10 May 2015 Read More
London - Tuesday 12 May 2015 Read More
Plymouth - Thursday 14 May 2015 Read More
Cardiff - Monday 18 May 2015 Read More
Ipswich - Monday 18 May 2015 Read More
Antrim - Wednesday 20 May 2015 Read More
Sheffield - Thursday 21 May 2015 Read More
Hickstead - Thursday 21 May 2015 Read More
Stirling - Sunday 24 May 2015 Read More
Lincoln - Wednesday 3 June 2015 Read More
Douglas - Sunday 28 June 2015 Read More
Consultation Day with the Areas

The next Consultation Day with the ABDO Areas will be held on Wednesday 20 May 2015 at the AOP Offices, 2 Woodbridge Street, London EC1R 0DG. All ABDO members are invited and welcome to attend.

To confirm your attendance email Jane Burnand at

Debbie Gigg Chartered MCIPD BSc(Hons) FBDO
Spectacle Makers and ABDO College to co-operate in qualifying optical technicians and optical retail staff

ABDO College and the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (WCSM) have agreed in principle that, with effect from 1 September 2015, the College will take over the day-to-day running and administration of the WCSM training courses for optical technicians and optical retail staff leading to the WCSM’s nationally accredited qualifications. The WCSM will remain the awarding body, and will accredit the College as an examination centre. Successful candidates will still be presented with their certificates at the Company’s annual ceremony in Apothecaries’ Hall each October.

The WCSM retains responsibility for running the examinations scheduled for June and December 2015, and the preparatory training leading up to them, based on the existing programme of qualifications. However, the two organisations are already engaged in a review of that programme with a view to the introduction of a simpler, more easily understood suite of qualifications, including a new Level 4 qualification for optical retail staff to stand alongside the renowned ‘SMC Tech’ qualification regarded by many as the gold standard for optical technicians. It is proposed that those attaining the new qualification will be entitled to put the letters ‘SMC(OA)’ after their names.

This planned initiative is intended to provide a solid foundation for the development of essential optical skills, and opens up a clearly defined career pathway for those entering optics at the lowest levels. As ABDO College Principal Jo Underwood explained: “For those acquiring the WCSM Level 4 qualifications who wish to progress further, we are seeking to enable a seamless transition into year 2 of the ABDO College Diploma in Ophthalmic Dispensing course, which in turn leads to the Level 6 ‘FBDO’ qualification awarded by the Association of British Dispensing Optician.” Indeed, it is hoped that the change will also eventually swell the number of former WCSM students who have not only subsequently obtained the FBDO qualification, but gone on to qualify as optometrists.

It was also announced that the WCSM’s director of training, Deborah Gigg, has joined ABDO College as course co-ordinator - optical support programmes, and she gave this assurance: “Those studying for the June and December 2015 examinations will be fully supported, and if necessary enabled to resit any units that they do not pass first time throughout 2016 and into 2017.”

Commenting on behalf of the WCSM, the Master, Dr Christine Tomkins, said “The Company anticipates that optical technicians and optical retail staff will be able to benefit from ABDO College’s proven expertise in training and conducting examinations. The resources at the College’s disposal will ensure that the Livery Company’s qualifications are attained by a broader section of the optical community, and thereby raise the standards of eye care available to the public.”

Those seeking further information should contact the ABDO College Courses Team on 01227 738 829 (Option 1) or email, or the WCSM on 020 7236 2932 or email

ABDO COLLEGE - College Technician Post

Are you a qualified dispensing optician with a wide range of practical and technical abilities, and possibly with an SMC Tech qualification too?

ABDO College is offering a fantastic opportunity for a highly motivated individual to join our team of dedicated staff at Godmersham, Kent.

You could earn a salary of up to £26,000 depending on the skills and experience you offer. The skills we are looking for should include:

  • Maintaining lens sets and equipment
  • Knowledge of the PQE and FQE practical exam requirements
  • Constructing new equipment for lab use
  • Maintaining budget and ordering
  • Setting up and maintaining teaching rooms and labs
  • Maintaining computer network in IT suite
  • Assisting academic staff as needed

Those interested should send a CV and covering letter, including the details of two referees, to:

Jo Underwood, Principal, ABDO College, Godmersham Park, Godmersham, Canterbury, Kent CT4 7DT

For any additional information or to discuss the post, telephone Jo on 01227 733906 or email

Closing date for receipt of applications: Friday 29 May 2015
Twenty-fourth WCSM Clerk appointed Read More
Optrafair to return to Birmingham again next year

Optrafair organisers, the FMO, have confirmed that Optrafair will be returning to Birmingham again next year, taking place in the usual springtime slot – 9 to 11 April 2016. The FMO’s show partners will once again be the team at Optician, who will be operating under newly defined parameters to deliver an improved and even more dynamic show.

GOC set for move to Farringdon

The General Optical Council (GOC) has announced plans to move to a new, more modern office in the Farringdon area of London.

The regulator expects to move by the end of the summer once the new space has been fitted out. The GOC will surrender its lease on its current premises, a converted house on Harley Street.

To read more click here.

Can you assist low vision students?

Students on the Low Vision Honours course are required to have a significant amount of experience in low vision assessment and produce their own low vision records before they can take the practical examinations. As low vision students are all qualified dispensing opticians they do not have to work under supervision. If you are an LVO and would be willing to let a student sit in on some of your low vision clinics and, ideally, offer them the opportunity to see their own patients for low vision assessment and dispensing please email Jennifer Brower at

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