With over 10 years experience in apprenticeships, both pre and post Levy, our consultants have successfully supported employers and providers with applications, implementation and ultimately recruitment of apprentices. We are proud to say that we have successfully created various large and small programmes for employers, from concept to roll out.

Many of the apprentices have continued on, after the apprenticeship finishes, to full time positions and looking to a positive future with engaging jobs and careers in their chosen industries. Similarly businesses that have taken on apprentices have reported back that it has been an overall fulfilling experience and that they would continue to employ an apprentice.

As apprentice employers we recognise the benefits of apprenticeships for both individuals and employers. We actually offer apprenticeships to all of our employees, irrespective of their level of experience or area of interest which allows our staff to grow personally, professionally and maintains an engaged team. Using apprenticeship programmes as a development tool means we are able to adapt and grow the business, offering additional services to our clients’ varying needs.

Our nominations and awards for our work within apprenticeships have supported our passion and include recognition by Government and invitations to Parliament and Downing Street.

Our Director, Chair of the Essex Apprentice Ambassador Network (AAN), Adele Carnera is an Essex-based businesswoman who has worked in large, multinational corporations before launching OPRA Group. Her passion for apprenticeships began over a decade ago and since then she has been involved in steering groups on developing apprentice standards as well as taking part in national policy advice on the subject. The Essex AAN is a growing body of Essex-based apprentice employers who meet bi-monthly to discuss how to implement national policy on a local level, the implications for their business, advice sharing and generally offering mutually beneficial support.

The group is part of the wider East of England Network which is co-ordinated by the Employment and Skills Funding Agency. (www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ education-and-skills-funding-agency)
Regular funding and policy updates are given by the ESFA representative and others from funding bodies such as SELEP (www. southeastlep.com), as well as Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) www.instituteforapprenticeships.org.

At OPRA Group we are passionate about apprenticeships, for businesses thinking about taking on an apprentice, our advice would be, …the devil is in the detail, knowing all the information before you start is imperative. Know and understand as much about the job that the apprentice is going to fulfill and the standard you are proposing as possible. How do they match on a daily basis? Most importantly how is your training provider going to support you and your apprentice on the journey? When talking to and choosing providers, make sure they understand your business needs and how their approach will fit in with your business activities.

Our future plans for apprenticeships are to grow our HR consultancy by using the Level 5 HR Standard which includes the CIPD professional accreditation, which will help us provide a more robust and recognised service to our clients.