Why me?

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers is the oldest and best connected optical organisation in the world. We have over 900 members, spanning 35 different professions. All of us believe in better vision for all. Our Charity gives around £75,000 each year in grants to charitable organisations supporting people with sight loss and improving access to work, sport and culture here and abroad, as well as bursaries and awards to support young professionals starting their careers in eye health across the UK.

Our Journeyman membership option launched in 2021 and aims to give people working in optical professions or the sight loss sector a chance to get to know us, to get involved and to want to move up to full membership of the Spectacle Makers’ Company.

What’s a Journeyman?

“Journeyman” has a special meaning in our 1629 founding Charter. A Journeyman was someone who had the skills needed to do their job but was developing their knowledge and experience still further by working for someone else. Journeymen would progress to becoming “Freemen”, people worthy of public trust, with a strong reputation of their own. Journeymen, Freemen and Liverymen are titles of respect and have been used by men and women equally throughout our almost 400-year history.

Today’s Journeymen have access to advice and support to help them become Freemen of the Company, which are full members of our organisation in their own right, when they feel ready.

There’s no age restriction but you must be in the early stages of your career to become a Journeyman. You might be in a pre-reg year, a post-doc starting in research, someone who has returned to work after a career break, a charity fundraiser or volunteer, a newly-qualified dispensing optician or someone whose career development brings them into optical sales or manufacturing. You must be within your first 5 years of joining the sector, or within 5 years of having achieved a qualification in an optically-related discipline. Your time as a Journeyman will end after 3 years from the date you start and you will then be able to choose if you want to move up to full membership of the Company as a Freeman. Journeymen do not pay the initial admin fee usually charged for new Freemen.

We take pride in our friendliness and openness. We don’t accept discrimination. Any person committed to better vision for all is welcome to apply.

Benefits for Journeymen

– access to free monthly online discussion sessions with some of the UK and the world’s leading vision experts. Journeymen are automatically invited each month.

– invitations to WCSM-hosted presentations at conferences, eg 100% Optical.

– opportunities to set up exclusive networking groups just for Journeymen, and plan your own events

– your own ready-made multi-disciplinary group, perfect to get in touch if you need help from someone in a different optical role or who knows about sight loss

– career advice

– get to know Freemen and Liverymen across the UK and abroad

– an opportunity to give back through our Charity & outreach activities

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