24Jun

The Story Of Our Exceptional Apprentice

Our Resourcing Business Partner, Natasha Parirewha, began her Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship with The OPRA Group after initially taking a different path from her original career aspirations.

Tash – as we know her – comes from a family of midwives and nurses, so it seemed only natural that this would be her path in life, too. She left school with 7 GCSEs and began a Foundation Degree at the University of Hertfordshire – her first step towards becoming a midwife. It was a six-hour return journey, which she stuck at, but she soon realised that, although she admired her family’s career path, it was not for her.

Tash went into business management at Anglia Ruskin, and although she knew this was better suited to her skill set, something was still not right. So, she started looking at apprenticeships and applied for over 50! Although only a few replied, one at the BBC and another in HR, her determination finally paid off, and she attended an interview with us at The OPRA Group.

Following a successful interview process using our knowledge of the apprenticeship process and relationships with learning providers, she started her training with us as she meant to go on. Natasha worked hard, completing and excelling in her ‘80% on the job’ in our office and ‘20% off the job’ learning through workbooks, workshops and lectures through her apprenticeship provider, TheLightBulb based in Basildon. Her learning mentor ensured she was fully up to date, completing her lectures and assignments and giving support where necessary.

As Tash approached the final stages of her qualification, she worked hard and studied as much as she could for her final exams. The final piece had three parts: a presentation, an interview and an examination. We recall Tash practising her presentation at work and discussing it with us in the office, her hard-working attitude and determination shining through as she completed her Level 3 business administration apprenticeship with an exceptional triple distinction!

Now, as our Resourcing Business Partner, Tash is dedicated to finding top talent for our clients. She also supports the recruitment team in successfully matching candidates with their dream roles.

Well done, Tash, you are a star!

04Jun

Escape to the Heart of Andalusia at our Stunning Spanish Retreat

Did you know that an estimated 17m working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression, and anxiety in recent times?

Wellbeing is not just a buzzword to be bandied around to give the impression that your business is doing the right thing, it is something that will negatively impact your business if you do not take the right precautions and actions. Our wellbeing packages are tailored to your needs, budget, timings, and staff requirements.

Research shows that:

• 81% of employees would welcome wellbeing support from their employer

• 80% of employees frequently feel tired

• 38% rarely get enough sleep impacting their productivity

We have a host of wellbeing experts who specialise in many areas which cover mind, body, and spirit! We are very excited to announce and share with you, that we are expanding our wellbeing programme with a stunning retreat as a superb, additional offering to your Senior Staff & Management Teams.

This Spanish Retreat could be the exact solution you have been looking for. Your employees will escape to the heart of Andalusia, where the rugged mountains meet the Mediterranean breeze. This unique rejuvenating experience is expertly curated with a blend of Tai Chi, Qigong, Tirapy Meditation, Dynamic Meditation Therapy and Deep Connection with tranquillity, gourmet delights, and personalized experiences in the mix. Your staff will return feeling cared for, loyal, rested, and recharged!

Your retreat package will be led by our award-winning wellness expert and functional nutrition coach. He will guide attendees through a fusion of dynamic meditation, serenity, and nourishment to reset and rejuvenate the mind, body, and spirit. The retreat is over three days starting with a welcome drink on arrival which will soothe you into the ambience of this glorious, boutique hideaway. The first evening will be a social affair along with introductions to some of the more unusual sessions.

The following days will follow an agenda of movement sessions, meditation, optional massages to unwind all leaving enough time for relaxation around the stunning pool area and terraces. The resort is situated within and close to Andalusian treasures where you can discover pristine nature, white villages, and the only desert in Europe!

For the cuisine think Yotam Ottolenghi Style and a celebration of flavour. The chef draws inspiration from his culinary magic, creating dishes that dance on your taste buds. Picture vibrant salads, roasted vegetables, fragrant spices, and delightful desserts, all served with care. Other events to enjoy are wine tastings, tea tasting and a celebration of Andalusian fusion cuisine.

Your team will relax and rest in the air-conditioned rooms, each thoughtfully designed for your comfort. Free WiFi ensures you stay connected while you disconnect from the world.

Book your retreat now and let the elements of the mountains, desert, and sea weave their magic around you and your team.

For All Enquiries Call: 0203 617 8130 or Email: hello@theopragroup.com

12Mar

Do Something Funny For Money!

🔴 For  Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day we are getting involved here at The OPRA Group! We hope you like the message from our youngest ‘member’! He very much enjoyed making the video and hopes you will get involved!

🔴 We will be donating to Comic Relief for every interview requested and scheduled by our clients and for every placement made, we will add even more money into the pot!

08Mar

We Won Again! New Recruitment Company of the Year UK 2024

Following our success last year, The OPRA Group are delighted to announce that we have won another award! The Corporate Livewire Innovation & Excellence, Best New Recruitment Company Of The Year 2024 Gold Award 

We were so proud to win New Recruitment Company of the Year 2023 and have since continued to build on our success.

The panel decided that we have again raised our level of achievement, and the Gold Award 2024 was thoroughly deserved.

We were delighted to hear that they have acknowledged our strong online presence, as this has been one of our main focuses. In addition, our use of TikTok sets us apart from others, offering tips and hints along with entertaining content that has been both engaging and amusing.

The judges were “blown away” by our testimonials, which we publish on our website and social media, a deciding factor in our win!

The Corporate Livewire Innovation and Excellence Award programme celebrates the success and continued achievement of businesses and individuals across a wide range of sectors and industries. This ranges from a commitment to being environmentally friendly via ethical investment and the realisation of corporate social responsibility.

The OPRA Group’s HR and screening services were considered because we strive to source businesses and services that align with our values of sustainability and social responsibility. Our services are bespoke in that each business has a tailored service that fits exactly its requirements, ensuring cost-effectiveness and a fit-for-purpose utility.

Our award-winning wellbeing packages are an essential part of employment for both employer and employee. We have worked very hard on this service, gathering a host of experts to cover a myriad of subjects to understand how the content is actually used, sourced and consumed.

We continuously review our processes to assess productivity and efficiency, often finding that technology is the solution to growth and improvement. We keep ourselves constantly updated, and this year, we are implementing a new video system to communicate with clients, candidates and one another.

We will continue our involvement in the community to improve Corporate Social Responsibility. This year, continuing to support the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust, the Armed Forces Charter and special days like Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day, injecting fun and a charitable focus into our workplace.  

Our business values will always include: integrity, innovation, collaboration, inclusion and customer focus, which we feel will keep The OPRA Group on a positive pathway for future success.

16Jan

The OPRA Group Continue With The Good Business Charter

We are very happy and proud to say that we have committed to the Good Business Charter (GBC) again for another year. The GBC recognise, champion and encourage responsible business behaviour for the benefit of people and planet. It is an accreditation which organisations of all sizes in the UK can apply for in recognition of responsible business practices.

Accredited organisations include FTSE100 companies, partnerships, local authorities, universities, SMEs, charities and sole traders. As a business, we met all 10 components in order to receive our accreditation which cover employee conditions, tax, the environment and the treatment of suppliers and customers. 

Living Wage

We are a Living Wage employer which the GBC requires all employers to pay directly employed staff and regularly contracted staff as set out by the Living Wage Foundation.

Ethical Contracts

We adhere to the use of ethical contracts with fairer hours as required by the GBC. The GBC requires a fair approach to zero hours contracts, including fair shift scheduling and cancellation policy, plus proper consideration given to contracts with guaranteed hours. 

Wellbeing

Our award-winning wellbeing packages began with an internal roll out. Our team enjoyed blocks of weekly wellbeing sessions that included a plethora of subjects. Some were presentation style, sometimes with guest speakers, we provided live, active sessions, demonstrating juicing or sampling teas, there was even a Tirapy therapy session. Once we saw the success of these sessions within our own business, with our great team members and also won an award, we decided to collate all we had learnt and develop wellbeing packages for other businesses. The GBC requires clear, fair and transparent policies that support and encourage employee well-being and ban unreasonable penalties for legitimate sickness. We take this very seriously and have a robust HR department that supports our team.

Employee Representation

The GBC requires all employers to engage with worker representatives and to ensure there is a voice that represents employees around the boardroom table.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The GBC requires organisations to evidence how they analyse and monitor their EDI data against a baseline, using it to address disadvantage and discrimination.

Environmental Responsibility

We are committed to our environmental policy, we run a paperless office, we source as much locally as we possibly can, using local businesses. For the last few years we have donated our Christmas cards and presents budget to the Centrepoint Christmas Appeals, to reduce our carbon footprint and to reduce the excessive purchasing of potentially unwanted and wasteful gifts. We are committed to reducing our environmental impact and continually improving our environmental performance.

Pay Fair Tax

The GBC requires businesses to commit to paying their taxes, not engage in tax avoidance and commit to be transparent in their relationship with HMRC.

Commitment to Customers

The GBC requires businesses to publish their commitment to their customers on their website. Businesses will be expected to gather and monitor customer feedback and report the results to their board.

Ethical Sourcing

The GBC requires businesses to commit to the standards set out in the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code for sourcing through a process of continuous due diligence.

Prompt Payment to Suppliers

The GBC requires businesses to sign the government’s Prompt Payment Code.

As we are committed to all 10 of these very important components, we feel our confident and excited for a successful year ahead.

#GoodEmployerCharter #ResponsibleBusiness #EthicalBusiness

04Dec

The Greatest Gift You Can Give!

Historically, each year at Christmas, we would send out gifts, hampers and cards to our clients and friends to celebrate the season. For several years now we have chosen Centrepoint to pass this gift on to a more meaningful place. Our feedback from our clients and friends is always favourable, so we are excited to be donating to Centrepoint again this year.

Centrepoint is the UK’s leading youth homelessness charity, which means that, alongside their partners, they support over 16,000 young people every year and are campaigning to end youth homelessness by 2037.

On the Centrepoint website there is a whole host of seasonal gifts you can choose from to show a homeless young person that someone is thinking about them this Christmas. There’s things like ‘A Warm Bed and Safety’ which ensures a bed at Centrepoint, this isn’t just a way to bring a young person in from the cold this Christmas, it’s also a physical and mental break from sofa surfing, the streets, and a safe space to rest, without fear and uncertainty. A ‘Home-cooked Christmas Dinner’ is no ordinary Christmas dinner, as it’s also filled with safety and warmth, the chance to sit around a table, share stories and forget about the past for an evening.

The National picture for homelessness for the year 2022-2023 has some very surprising stats, here’s just a few, 135,800 16-24 year olds were homeless or at risk of homelessness in the UK during this period. 1 in 52 young people are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the UK and 67% of cases of homelessness in England were not successfully prevented or dealt with throughout this year.

Did you know you can ‘Sponsor a Young Person’s Stay at Centrepoint for a Year’ as one of the gifts this year. Sponsoring a room at Centrepoint, opens the door to a new future for a vulnerable young person, a future free from homelessness. This option is also gifting them the vital support they may not have had before, for an entire year, providing a young person with the complete package of a room of their own, counselling and health support and the one-to-one practical advice of a Key Worker.

We thought that the ‘Gift of Christmas’, which consists of a warm meal and the company of people who empathise with the situation can be an enormously meaningful gift to give a young person this Christmas. The meal is combined with a good night’s sleep and a few items of fresh clothing, this gift can help a young person feel re-energised and ready to reflect on their next steps.

There’s so many more gifts, we have spoken about just a few, have a look on their website using this link: https://centrepoint.org.uk/virtual-gifts

We will chose some of our favourite gifts and donate to Centrepoint this year. From all at The OPRA Group, we would like to wish all of our clients and friends a warm and happy Christmas, surrounded by the people you care about.

#ChristmasCorporateGifts #ChristmasCharity #ChristmasGiving #CorporateGifts

23Oct

EXCITING END OF YEAR PROMOTIONS: 2023!

As we head towards the end of 2023, we want to help you get your businesses ‘up straight’ before the year ends. We know this time of year can be challenging and budgets tight, so we are offering our existing clients some fantastic discounts on our current services!

WINTER RECRUITMENT PROMO

For all existing clients, if you have any new open vacancies, with a start date of 2023, we’d love to support you and are offering a reduced fee of just 8% for any successful placements made!

COMPLIANCE AND SCREENING END OF 2023 PROMO

When is the last time you re-vetted your existing employees? Anything could have changed since you hired them, so we recommend regular re-vetting!

Do you have any new employees that need pre-employment screening completed? For the rest of 2023, we are offering a HUGE discount on all our compliance and screening services, 25% Off the original price!

HR SERVICES & CONSULTANCY END OF 2023 PROMO

• Do you need HR legal support?

• Are you struggling with a redundancy programme?

• Did you know that legally you must have certain policies in place?

• Do you have an Employee Handbook?

• Do you need help with onboarding?

• Are you struggling with how to deal with certain situations legally from an HR perspective?

WE CAN HELP!

For the rest of 2023, we are offering another HUGE discount on all of our HR services, 25% off the original price! Don’t delay! Let us help you get your HR function in order by the end of the year!

To contact us to find out more about these offers, here’s a list of some of our useful contacts:

Adele Carnera – Director

0203 617 8130

a.carnera@theopragroup.com

Cathryn Kempen – Head of HR

0204 548 5067

c.kempen@theopragroup.com

Joanne Turner – Compliance Manager

0203 617 8135

j.turner@theopragroup.com

Nicola Seal – Client Relationship Manager

0204 548 5070

n.seal@theopragroup.com

#SpecialOffers #EndOfYearOffers #Promotions

18Oct

Wellbeing at Work – Did You Know?

The importance and benefits of having a health and wellbeing programme in the workplace has never been more prevalent. Investing in your employee’s welfare can have a significant impact on individuals, organisations and society as a whole.  

We are passionate about promoting wellbeing and it is at the heart of everything we do. There is a much broader understanding of holistic health and wellbeing approaches, however, it is also very clear that there is an implementation gap by many organisations. 

That’s where we can help!

Only around 8% of UK organisations have a dedicated wellbeing strategy in place.

81% of employees want wellbeing support from their employer.

46% of employees continued working even though they were unwell.

80% of employees frequently feel tired, whilst 38% rarely get enough sleep impacting their productivity.

An estimated 17m working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression and anxiety in 2021/22.

Programmes can help create a positive workplace culture, where employees are encouraged to consider their health and wellbeing. It is important for employers to promote open dialogue and positive relationships with their employees to attain mutual commitment and trust. 

They can improve employee productivity, job satisfaction, and retention rates, as employees who feel supported and valued are more likely to be engaged and motivated. 

Wellbeing activities can help individuals improve physical health, mental health, and overall quality of life by educating them on how to manage stress, anxiety, and depression, which are mental health conditions that can have a negative impact on wellbeing.  Improving employee health can reduce absences which are costly to the business in time and money.   

Let us look after your people whilst you look after running your business!

Creating and implementing a wellbeing package is a time consuming but necessary task. Let us tick it off your to-do list for you!

We recently won an Innovation and Excellence Award for Best New Recruitment Agency!

We can offer bespoke packages suited to your business and employee needs. 

We have won a host of awards including Best Health & Wellbeing Strategy 2022!

We are a Mindful Employer, promoting better understanding of mental health in the workplace.

Our HR Team are qualified Level 2 Mental Health Workplace Responders. 

Our Wellbeing Champion promotes and advocates positive health and wellbeing practice.

We want your employees to be enthusiastic about their work, be invested and proud of your organisation, and for them to feel safe and supported in their environment.  At OPRA we have a plethora or knowledge and experience which is evidenced by our own Award winning wellbeing programme, and so can offer you a bespoke package tailored to your individual business needs. 

After consultation, we’ll gather data, conduct a workplace assessment and evaluate your strengths and challenges.  We’ll advise you of the different options available to meet your objectives whether that be to just help get the fundamentals right or if you want to offer benefits that go above and beyond!          

‘I think its great that OPRA offer wellness workshops, it lifts spirits and makes employees feel like the company cares about their wellbeing out of work as well as in work’.

‘Just to say thank you for providing this service I have never known a company to provide this in my entire working career’.

‘I feel that OPRA are a very understanding and supportive company and Julie is a great person that I feel I could go to if necessary’.

‘I think that the Wellbeing programme offered by OPRA is a very good programme which is accessible to everyone in the company’.

#WellbeingStrategy #WellbeingProgramme #MentalHealth

18Oct

We Visit Gateway Radio to Talk about The Good Employer Charter!

This week we visited Gateway Radio in The Eastgate Centre in the heart of Basildon which reflects the interests, tastes, backgrounds, cares and concerns of the vibrant local Basildon community.

Our Senior Head of Operations Greg Brown and Marketing Manager Sharon Butler-Felby were invited to attend a networking session where there were other local businesses including Treehouse Club, Palmers Solicitors, Billericay Dental Care, Morgan Sindall, Leonardo and Debut Training Academy. We had a lively chat about local business over cups of tea and biscuits along with Jim Sims from Basildon Borough Council. 

During the networking event we were asked individually to go through into the studio where we were interviewed by Johnny Jenkins, a qualified and experienced journalist who oversees around 100 on-air interviews every month!

It was a fun exchange where Greg and Sharon were asked about the Good Employer Charter in particular and how The OPRA Group interact with the community and the recent drives we have been involved with. The Good Employer Charter mission is to build a network of Good Employers from right across the borough, that do business responsibly, and with the objective of enabling both employers and employees to benefit as the economy grows. 

We talked about our donation of sports equipment to Ghyllgrove Community Primary School this year and also our sponsorship of  Billericay Town FC Colts Under 9’s team by supplying their home, away and training kits, this was some of the highlights of the conversation. We also discussed our recent award for our Health and Wellbeing Strategy which keys into the one of the charters main mission points: attention to staff wellbeing and development.

Greg was asked about his activities as a referee and how The OPRA Group have sponsored his kit, he explained about how our director Adele is the Essex Chair of the Apprentice Ambassador Network and how we as a business therefore champion apprenticeships.

Sharon spoke about how we recently signed the Armed Forces Charter and attend British Forces Resettlement Services job fairs which are specifically aimed at helping The Armed Forces into new career paths.

It was exciting to hear our interview in the office and look forward to further opportunities to do so again in the future.

You can hear all of the interviews here: https://www.gateway978.com/gateway-response/audio-bites/good-employer-charter-day-at-gateway-97-8

#GoodEmployerCharter #RadioInterview #EthicalBusiness

18Oct

We Donate Sports Equipment to Ghyllgrove Community Primary School

We decided to make a donation to Ghyllgrove Community Primary School as they were looking for some help to upgrade their sports equipment. With the money we donated they purchased all of the amazing new sports equipment they required to use during their clubs and PE lessons across the school. 

PE is a statutory requirement of the National Curriculum, the children at Ghyllgrove School Gym enjoy access to a well-equipped gymnasium and each class is timetabled to use it for a variety of activities during the week. When the weather permits, they can also use both the playgrounds and extensive playing fields and the new MUGA (Multi Use Games Area) for PE and games.

The programme for PE includes gymnastics, game skills, athletics and dance. The children are very fortunate to have a range of specialist coaches (SPEC Training) that come into the school and teach them alongside their teachers. This allows school staff to develop their skills, as well as learn new strategies and techniques.

There are also clubs and we have seen the children enjoying thrilling games of Hockey, Netball and Football so we are delighted to have been able to make improvements, including the MUGA made from artificial grass surfacing that incorporates the different pitch markings needed to accommodate a number of sports all in one place, plus lots of other equipment for the children to enjoy.

We are proud that we are helping to keep the children of Ghyllgrove Community Primary School fit and healthy!

#SportsEquipmentDonation #LocalSchool #LocalCommunity