Staff and students, past a present, came together to celebrate the 70th year of Ophthalmic Dispensing being taught at Bradford College.
And one former student was a very special guest – Clive Marchant, who is the current president of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians.
Mr Marchant studied with the college between 1977 and 1980 and returned to hand out awards to the current crop of students training to dispense and fit spectacles and other optical aids.
“It is great to come back and help Bradford College celebrate its 70th anniversary of training dispensing opticians,” said Mr Marchant.
“Bradford College as a learning institution is highly rated in the industry.
“It is lovely to meet current students as they are the future eye care professionals. Now is a great time to be getting into the industry – it is a time of innovation and change. Technology is making rapid changes and it is great to see first-hand the excellent work Bradford College is doing to bring these students through.”
Robin Rohu, lecturer in Ophthalmic Dispensing at Bradford College, said: “In the 70 years that Bradford College has been delivering Ophthalmic Dispensing there have been dramatic shifts in the optical industry as well as in education but University Centre Bradford College has remained at the forefront of delivering ophthalmic education in the north of England.
“As well as reflecting on our history, the celebration was a chance to look forward to the future, as we strive to develop education in the industry for the next 70 years.”
Among the awards presented on the night was a lifetime achievement award to Julie Lees, a former lecturer and course leader for Ophthalmic Dispensing at the college who retired last year after 22 years’ service.
The Bradford College Trophy, for the best overall student, was handed to Rachael Smith, who also won the Best FdSc Student prize.
Thaiba Kanaat took the Best BSc Practical Dispensing Skills title while Bliss Rycroft took the same title for the FdSc level.
Zoha Rehman was named Best Contact Lens Student. Hina Patel collected the award for Best BSc (Hons) Student. There was a Personal Achievement Award for Paula Burke, recognition for Mariam Aziz for the Best Research Project and the Practice Placement Recognition Awards were presented to Sukhvir Singh and Sukhvinder Virdee.
University Centre Bradford College is one of just six training institution in Great Britain approved by the General Optical Council and the only one in northern England. It delivers a BSc (Hons) and Foundation degree, FdSc, in Ophthalmic Dispensing as well as a Contact Lens Certificate course.
Following a recent inspection by ABDO of the Bradford College provision. The body stated that “auditor’s feedback was wholly positive” and noted “exemplary attention to detailed preparation by the staff at Bradford College”.
The feedback continued: “Auditors reflected that Bradford College staff had a clear understanding of all aspects of the course content and how that was delivered to the students.”
Robin Rohu added: "The event was a fantastic night and received very well by all including the president of the ABDO who provided some lovely feedback. It gave an opportunity not just to celebrate the success of our recent graduates but also to celebrate the commitment of our staff and its relationship with the ABDO.
"We would like to thank all the sponsors for their generosity in presenting awards.
"Everyone at Bradford College is looking forward to the next 70 years of Ophthalmic Dispensing."
Anyone interested in Ophthalmic Dispensing courses at Bradford College should come along to the open event on Saturday, March 23 between 11 am and 2 pm.