Growing up, I always wanted to be a GP, but life had other plans for me. At 18, I was doing my A-levels, living alone in a privately rented flat near school and working every shift possible in the local supermarket to pay the bills. Without family support, adding university study to my already difficult existence seemed impossible.
Still, I was determined. I got good grades and worked full-time at the supermarket, while applying for roles in healthcare. After many rejections, I started in optics as a receptionist at a high street multiple.
Later, I interviewed for a job at the Cardiff franchise of the same multiple and I realised just how valuable an experienced optical assistant (OA) is to a busy practice when they offered me a job on the spot. I told them I wanted to try dispensing or lab work; they let me choose. I chose the lab but ended up doing a bit of both and often preferred the dispensing component.