Gaining new insights whilst refreshing knowledge
Having previously worked in the engineering industry, Mr Yong left his machinist job to pursue a brand-new career in optometry after he was encouraged by his mother-in-law to join their family business.
Back then, it meant that Mr Yong had to start afresh as he had no knowledge in optometry. Fortunately, there were plenty of learning opportunities at the polytechnics to aid him in entering the optical trade at that point of time.
With a good amount of hard work, Mr Yong eventually graduated with both a Diploma in Optometry and Advanced Diploma in Optometry. Fast-forwarding to today, 59-year-old Mr Yong has been working as an optometrist in the industry for more than 20 years. He has been enjoying what he is doing and even managed two optometry shops at one point in time.
The need for refresher training
As optometrists are required to reach a target of 50 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) points for the renewal of practising certificates, Mr Yong had signed up and attended NSA courses such as “Primary Eye Care Workshop for Optometrists” and “Holistic Approach in Binocular Vision Management” by Singapore Polytechnic in 2019.
“As we grow older, we may tend to forget a lot of things, it’s great that there are such refresher courses around to help us to revise on our existing skillset,” Mr Yong said.
Albeit the short duration of the courses, the trainer provided real-life examples and hands-on experiences such as slit-lamp examinations and binocular vision tests, giving Mr Yong insights and widened his outlook to optometry. Besides these refresher courses, Mr Yong has also attended different seminars to find out what is new in the optometry field.
After attending these courses and seminars, Mr Yong took the initiative to find out more information when the trainer mentioned new professional terms that are unfamiliar to him. Mr Yong believes this information can help him improve his judgement and allow him to make better decisions, for instance, if his customer shares with him what medication he or she has taken, he can understand if the particular medication will affect their vision.
A role model as a lifelong learner
Besides work-skills, Mr Yong has also taken the initiative to learn how to use different functions in his computer and smartphone. More often than not, Mr Yong would ask his daughter to teach him some of these latest digital trends.
“Not only does learning from the younger generation give me the opportunity to bond with them, I also get to show them that I am still learning despite my older age,” Mr Yong shared.
Asking about his plans after retirement, Mr Yong hopes to learn more and indulge in his hobbies in the future. As Mr Yong likes to capture beautiful sceneries, he plans to take up photo taking courses. He also strongly encourages the others to kickstart their journey as a lifelong learner if they have not done so.
“Being a lifelong learner can keep our minds active, ultimately keeping us healthier. We can also take what we have learned to bond with our children or grandchildren,” Mr Yong concluded.
**Special thanks to Mr Yong who accepted our interview, we wish him all the very best in his lifelong learning journey.
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