30 at 30 – With Sandra Flinn
Sandra says she was interested in optics from a young age, so it was an easy decision to progress her career with Vision Express. From working in the lab to training our technicians, we asked her about her experience:
Can you give us a background to your Vision Express journey?
I started my career in optics in the lab, glazing lenses before becoming a technician. My role with Vision Express began as a Lab Technician Manager which involved all elements of spectacle making from start to finish. I then progressed to Lab Training Manager in 2012 and I still find it interesting!
What’s involved in your current role?
I train all new lab technicians that are based at our Tech Centre and stores and provide ongoing support. We have different levels of training that colleagues can progress through. There’s lots of elements to assembling glasses, some of which can’t be done by machine, so the roles are very hands on and there’s lots to learn.
What do you enjoy the most about your role?
The satisfaction of training someone and seeing them develop the confidence to work well on their own.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Years ago, I remember being really stressed at work and a colleague who was close to retirement age said that you can only do so much in one day. Those words stuck with me and now if I’m ever struggling to get everything done, I’m realistic about working at maximum capacity and doing what I can. It’s a simple piece of advice but it’s good to remind yourself that there is always tomorrow to continue working.
What key skills do you need to be a lab technician?
It’s a very technical job with lots of practical work involved so someone who enjoys a hands on role. It helps if you have a creative or art background and are used to working with small parts.
How have you seen Vision Express evolve?
I’ve seen many changes over the years and the focus has changed from our one-hour service that we offered many years ago. Now we have a central lab which is really great for quality control and consistency across the products we offer. Things are always changing in the optics industry which makes it really interesting.
What advice would you give to a new starter?
With dedication and a good work ethic, there’s nothing stopping you from developing your career at Vision Express. Working in a lab is so interesting and there’s so many skills that you can learn – you won’t get bored!