Some Top Employer Tips

Here’s Some Ideas From Team OPRA

Here’s Some Of The Ways We Market Our Jobs, From Team OPRA

The key theme from the current job market can be summed up in two words – ‘candidate driven’ so we target, focus and find high calibre candidates from various places including some of our secrets revealed here.

How do potential candidates know that we are recruiting? Making a clear statement across all of our online locations with modern attractive branding and continuity helps to cover all bases, plus we have found a targeted approach to advertising jobs works well for us.

Targeting your potential audience with thought through campaigns, can seem like a minefield, however you can research to find where online our audience will be spending time and look to increase our visibility to them there.

Where are we advertising? We can’t tell you all of our secrets, but let’s talk social media. People use social media in different ways, they are loyal to certain places and accounts. The largest active group on Facebook for example, is people aged 25-34 and 56% of users are male, whereas Instagram has the same age group as its largest user group however it is predominantly female, with a larger, 57% female audience. Twitter has 68% male audience with a higher age group as its largest, 30-49 years old. On LinkedIn, there is a higher age bracket of 46-55 and an even spread of male – female. TikTok has a very young age bracket of 18-24 and 59% being female. Snapchat, unsurprisingly, has the lowest age group of 13-34 and its main users are predominantly female, 58%.

Can our candidates easily get in contact? We make it very easy for people to contact us, wherever we post our jobs, we have a clear and easy way for the applicants to get in contact, use of an ‘upload your cv’ button, an ‘apply now’ or ‘enquiry sign up form’ can all be effective as they are expected forms of making contact. Regularly posting our phone numbers and points of contact.

Check points of contact! We check our social media, website and Google listing on a mobile device, can the phone number be easily found and rung?

CALL US: 0203 617 8130

EMAIL US: hello@theopragroup.com


Best New Recruitment Agency Winner 2022


Hiring the right people is key to building a flourishing organisation and the British Recruitment Awards recognises the individuals, teams and agencies that are passionate about making this happen day in, day out. We were thrilled to be nominated for Best New Recruitment Agency and invited to the event at Bounce in Holborn, London. The Awards are hosted by New Possible who said that “The British Recruitment Awards sets out to discover and celebrate the individuals and teams that are truly passionate about recruitment’s role in building a thriving organisation”.

On the day lots of our team attended networking from 11 am where there was a full room of industry leaders and other nominees, to link with over tea, coffee and a few treats. We took our seats in front of the stage where we heard from the panellists in a discussion and Q&A session, ‘Creating a Winning Employee Proposition’. The value proposition describes what an organisation stands for, requires and offers as an employer, this was a valuable and thought provoking discussion from the expert panel.

After the Q&A we all enjoyed the best two P’s: a great Pizza and Prosecco lunch! We were then entertained by the hilarious Sally-Anne Hayward, who is an award-winning comedian and a sought-after corporate performer. The cherry on the cake for us and the best end to the whole day was winning our category, Best New Recruitment Agency! We are thrilled to have won this prestigious award and proud to be nominated and chosen by this all-star judging panel who reviewed the entries and shared their expertise:

• Prof Emma Parry, Head of Changing World of Work Group at Cranfield School of Management

• Scarlett Allen-Horton, Founder & Director at Harper Fox Search Partners

• Richard Waite, People & Culture Director at Grant Thornton

• Sarah McGuire, Head of Talent & Resourcing at Manchester United

• Yasar Ahmad, Global VP of Talent at HelloFresh

• Nate Harwood, Founder at New Possible

With over 130 entries received from organisations all across the UK, competition to take home a British Recruitment Award is very tough, so we celebrated with a few more proseccos and games of ping pong. We thoroughly enjoyed the day and can’t wait to see what’s next for the OPRA team!


Wellness in The Workplace


Wellness in The Workplace with Don Gordon

Here at the OPRA Group we have been enjoying bi-monthly wellness sessions with functional nutritionist and Health Transformation Coach Don Gordon – from Elite Wellness. The knock on effect has been lots more water in the office, fresh lemons in the fridge, Wellness Wednesday Walking and some of us are trying intermittent fasting, but that’s for another time! We’d like to share with you a nutritional concept from Don that we think is easy to follow… Eat A Rainbow!

Eat A Rainbow

We have all heard of the 5-A-Day recommendation from the NHS, however, our health guru Don, supports further recommendations for optimal health with 7-A-Day, including 5 portions of vegetables and 2 portions of fruit.

The more variety of colour the better, but it is interesting to note that there are associations to different coloured food and their properties. It is widely reported that blue/purple coloured food, such as blueberries, have antioxidant qualities but did you know the effect different coloured food has on your mood? Don tells us that Green relaxes, eases stress, Red is energising, Blue can help with depression and pain, Yellow enhances mood, and Orange stimulates appetite and elicits happiness. Think about eating chilli (Red), it’s very stimulating however drinking peppermint tea (Green) is calming.


We all love that succulent sweet taste of seasonal fruit, so enjoy it and follow the seasons so you can enjoy variety throughout the year and locally sourced fruit wherever possible. However the recommendation is to keep the sugar levels down for many health benefits, so 2 pieces of fruit per day is sufficient to gain all the benefits and keep risks associated with sugar to a minimum. When choosing fruits look at all the beautiful rainbow colours and mix it up!


Our supermarkets, farmers markets, local shops and outlets are full of a plethora of amazing, rainbow coloured, nutrition packed, powerhouse vegetables! Take advantage, eat seasonally, be inventive, try something new, your body and mind will reap the benefits. Did you know that our humble and well used potato does not count as one of your 7-A-Day, so how about you try a baked sweet potato to add to your daily count. What other switches can you make?

Don has advised us here at OPRA Group, that adding in extra vegetables into our diet can help us improve our microbiome which may positively impact brain, skin, prostate, vascular, eye, heart, and reproductive health, the list goes on, so what’s not to like! Fill up your plate with colour and you could be building your health for the future.


OPRA Flex Top Tips


Flexible working has many benefits, enjoying freedom and trying new employers and jobs is a great way to gain lots of experience and bridge the gap between full-time jobs. Here’s some top tips from our experts:

Stay within your industry sector

Temporary contracts are still stepping stones towards your career path goals. Thinking strategically about those choices could have long term benefits. Gaining new skills, knowledge and abilities and growing new relationships are all key to a positive experience and keeping you on track.


Showing enthusiasm each day will make you feel like a valued member of the team and you will have a feeling of achievement on a daily basis. Arrive on time each and every working day, show your willingness to work by actively volunteering your help if you have finished your tasks and show a positive attitude. It will not go unrecognised and you will have a great reference at the end of your contract.

Know your limits

If you are replacing someone on a temporary basis, you are not going to step straight into their shoes and do things exactly like they do. Just be you and strive to be the best version of you that you can be.

Network with your team

Use the temporary contracts to grow your network, you have nothing to lose! The people you meet along the way can introduce you to other great opportunities and contacts. Keep professional and follow up where appropriate.

Learn new skills!

You have a unique chance to learn lots of new skills, systems, software, technologies, applications and practicing those you may be a little unsure of, to build your skill base.

Keep a record

If you receive a great email giving you praise, keep it! Note and save successes wherever you can, you most likely will not get the same 121 reviews as the permanent staff so keep your own record! These ‘testimonials’ are very useful when you want to apply for new temporary, or possibly permanent, positions.

Thinking about your future?

If your temporary employer has hinted at your position evolving into a permanent one, do not pester people ‘in house’. Go back to your agency and let them deal with this for you. It is unlikely your temporary contract will change before the timings already agreed, so bide your time and go through the right channels.


Asking for feedback at the end of your contract is useful in two ways, it will establish you as professional and conscientious within your current temporary role, plus you will discover constructive criticisms or positives that you can work on. You should ask about other opportunities within the organisation, request references/recommendations from your manager and other key team members and referrals for other job roles. Schedule time with your manager in good time to allow this process to be diarised.


Understanding Apprenticeships


Is an Apprenticeship Right for You?

When deciding whether to pursue an apprenticeship there are a few things to think about, an apprenticeship is a commitment to study for 1 – 5 years.

However there are a number of misconceptions surrounding apprentices which we have de-mythed below. We hope that this article proves helpful to your research.

Off the job training means I must go to college one day per week.

Apprenticeships require 20% off the job training, this does not currently mean that you must attend college once a week. This actually refers to 20% of your normal working hours being used to totally focus on training. This time should be spent learning new knowledge and skills relevant to your job within your normal working hours. This can be accomplished in numerous ways, including sessions with your course tutor, online webinars and learning, buddying and learning colleagues roles within the business and complete functions skills and doesn’t necessarily mean going to another location.

An apprenticeship won’t lead to a permanent job.

Whilst completing an apprenticeship you are entitled to an employment contract granting to the same rights as all employees for the duration of your study. According to the latest stats from the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills, 90% of apprentices are offered permanent employment either during their apprenticeship or upon graduation. If you are not offered a permanent position at the end of your apprenticeship you will still hold a new qualification and relevant work experience to aid your next career move!

Apprenticeship qualifications are lower value than college or university courses.

Whilst it is true that in the past there has been a misconception in the value of achievement via an apprenticeship, this has genuinely changed over the past decade. More top quality colleges and universities are supporting apprenticeships now further ensuring consistency in quality across various types of education. Apprenticeship programmes can be an alternative to full time college or university and they allow you to work within a specific and relevant industry as you learn. Qualifications available to study on an apprenticeship vary from GCSE to master’s degree level and will take between one and five years to complete dependent on level.

Apprenticeships are only for lower level, entry level qualifications or vocational careers.

Programmes are available to those with a variety of experience and offer qualifications from GCSE through to Master’s degree level.

Apprenticeships are only for people who do not have qualifications.

As long as the apprenticeship you are considering involves a sufficient amount of new learning or you are looking to update outdated skills and you are not currently in full-time education then you would be eligible to begin an apprenticeship. Your regardless of previous qualifications held.

Apprentices must work full-time.

Although most apprenticeships require a minimum of 30 hours per week and a maximum of 40 hours per week part-time apprentices are available and should be discussed with an employer. Part-time apprenticeships require a minimum of 16 hours work per week.

University graduates earn more than apprentices.

The quality and range of apprenticeships on offer has increased and diversified in recent years. Statistically this evolution has increased the earning potential of those achieving apprenticeships at all levels. Apprenticeships allow you to begin earning immediately whilst continuing in your education, allowing you to gain years of full-time work experience versus full-time education to degree level. You do not pay to learn whilst on an apprenticeship, in fact you are in paid employment throughout your apprenticeship so you qualify without student debt. Your apprenticeship by definition will be directly relevant to your job contrary to graduates who are struggling to secure positions directly relevant to their degree post university.

Apprenticeships are only for school leavers/ I’m too old to do an apprenticeship.

Most may believe that you must be aged between 16 – 25 in order to begin an apprenticeship however apprenticeships do not have a maximum age limit. You must be over 16 and no longer in full education in order to begin an apprenticeship.


Our highly experienced team are waiting to hear from you. Whether you’re looking for a part-time or full-time position we are here to help. It’s time to start learning to do what you love.



Celebrating The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Raising money for Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT) and celebrating The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

We are so pleased to have raised £540 for EHAAT during our Jubilee Fundraising Celebration. Here’s what we got up to…

On the day all of the team arrived in patriotic red, white and blue, the office was decorated with lots of balloons and Union Jack bunting and the whole day felt celebratory. We enjoyed delicious, hot slices of pizza and a glass of cool Summery Pimms, whilst playing a fun game of Royal Bingo, ‘The £1 Coin Game’, which was surprisingly entertaining and Pin The Diamond On The Crown, all of which added to the final amount raised. Some of the team were very good at pinning the diamond, where as some pinned the diamond to the wall, we’re not sure the Queen would have approved!

Our tables were filled with scones, strawberries, jam, colourful cakes and sweet goodies from the theme ‘A Very British Afternoon Tea’ from the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT). Some people took the time to bake their own and bring them in, some bought pretty Jubilee cakes, but all tasted great and we all enjoyed them. We also had a visit from a very important ‘Royal’ on the day!

The finale was a raffle where we had so many prizes. We have to thank our Director Adele, who donated a well-received half day holiday, the restaurants, Vojan in Ongar and Beauvoir Arms in Downham who donated vouchers, our team who brought in champagne and other gifts, the fun illustrated charity books and all the prizes donated and everyone who contributed to make the whole day a real success.

Well done #TeamOPRA!


We Are Passionate About Apprenticeships

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.