Rían Love is Courses Coordinator, Optical Support Programmes at ABDO College, and runs the workshops which form part of the Optical Assistant course from ABDO College. Read on to find his experiences and views on booking and using the NRC.
Commenting on his experience of booking the NRC for the workshops, he says, “My contacts Mat and Gemma at the NRC were extremely prompt in all correspondence on booking and were able to recommend the best area for the workshops and appropriate set up for the room. I was left with no question unanswered and whilst normally I would encounter or expect teething issues on the set up in any venue, I was arriving confident that the set up would be exactly as we needed – and I was right.”
The ABDO College Optical Assistant (OA) workshops help OAs get to grips with spectacle repairs, as well as giving them an insight into screening. Both parts of the day require specialist equipment. Rian says, “We needed some equipment sent in advance and this was handled excellently, it was signed for and set up for us. Upon finish, it was no issue to leave the equipment there for pick up. The team at the NRC are always close by and happy to help with anything they can. They have gone above and beyond for us several times.”
Alongside the hands on part of the workshop, students also enjoy some lectures, helping them bring together what they have learnt in practice and through modules studying online. Rian says “The facilities for training and lectures are first class and maintained in excellent condition. The smart board set up makes it very easy to run workshops and integrate several media. We have had several group sizes and there is no group too big or small that it does not work for.”
Part of the workshop focuses on screening for eye disease, helping OAs become familiar with different equipment they might come across when asked to do screening as a delegated function. An advantage of attending the ABDO College workshop at the NRC is that OAs will encounter a range of equipment over and above what they might encounter in practice. Rian says, “The screening equipment that we have used is all top of the range and a fantastic asset to the NRC.”
A key part of any workshop is regular breaks and great food to ensure participants are refreshed and ready to learn again. Rian says, “At the ABDO College workshop we arranged for lunch to be provided by the NRC team. There is always plenty on offer and both the facilitators and students have always left very happy. The tea and coffee stations are a welcome asset in the workspace as it gives flexibility to tea break times.”
Getting to and from the NRC is straightforward: for those who are driving it is handily located in the heart of England, and there are frequent rail services from across the UK to nearby Birmingham New Street. Rian says, “The NRC is a short taxi trip from Birmingham City Centre and there is never a shortage of taxis close by. The NRC staff will also arrange taxis. There is an abundance of parking and we have never run into any parking difficulties in terms of numbers when we have been there.”
ABDO College’s Optical Assistant course runs twice a year and Rian is looking forward to his next visit to Birmingham. He says, “There are a lot of factors to juggle when running a training session, but I know when I book with the NRC everything is taken care of.”