The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) has appointed Alicia Thompson as the new director of education, research and professional development.

Thompson will be responsible for registerable qualifications, post-graduate qualifications and awards, developing a new programme for academic advancement, and managing ABDO’s reformed Research and Clinical Committee.

Thompson’s former role, director of professional examinations, will be succeeded by Miranda Richardson, and will be titled as head of professional qualifications and education.

ABDO general secretary, Sir Tony Garratt, commented on Thompson’s new appointment: ‘Alicia is an outstanding optical educator with a well-deserved and growing international reputation. This appointment demonstrates ABDO’s total commitment to enhancing the profession and developing and promoting the role of dispensing opticians.

'I regard this appointment as a real step change in how the profession will be viewed in the future and I expect Alicia’s new role to have a global impact on the whole world of optical education. This is more than exciting, it is transformational.’

Commenting on her appointment, Richardson said: ‘Together with the new role and the changes brought in by the General Optical Council’s Education and Standards Review last year, I have a busy and exiting time ahead, not only implementing the new requirements for our qualifications, but also continuing to work closely with the GOC, all of our educational institutes and their students, manufacturers and employers, to ensure we maintain our high professional standards and continued advancements and recognition of our profession.’