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


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


We Won! New Recruitment Company of the Year UK 2023

Our maneki-neko, (Japanese beckoning cat) is clearly attracting good Feng Shui into The OPRA Group! We’re delighted to announce that The OPRA Group have won another award, The Corporate Livewire Innovation and Excellence Award for the New Recruitment Company of the Year UK, 2023. This programme celebrates the recent success and continued achievements of businesses and individuals across a wide range of sectors and industries. This ranges from a commitment to being environmentally friendly in the battle against climate change to enacting positive change via ethical investment and the realisation of corporate social responsibility.

OPRA Services and Social Responsibility

Our extensive HR and Pre-screening services were taken into consideration for this award because we strive to scource businesses and services that align with the same values of sustainability and social responsibility as us. Our services are offered and taken up in a bespoke way so that each business has a tailored service that fits exactly to their requirements, ensuring a cost-effective utility that is fit for purpose.

Wellbeing, Essential for Businesses and Employees alike!

As 81% of employees want wellbeing support from their employer and an estimated 17 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression and anxiety in 2021-2022, we feel that our award-winning, wellbeing packages are not just a frivolous add on to businesses EVPs, but an essential part of employment from both employer and employee perspectives. We have worked very hard on this service, from gathering a host of experts covering a myriad of subjects, to how the content is actually used, sourced and consumed.

How do we stay on top of technological changes?

We continuously review our processes to assess productivity and efficiency often finding that technology is the solution to growth and improvement. We keep ourselves updated by taking part in online system upgrade demonstrations, reviewing blogs, technical news websites, industry publications, attending conferences, workshops and webinars. This keeps us up to date with our CRM, payroll, skills testing, training, HR, pre-employment vetting, job boards and search optimisation tools to make sure we keep on top of developments and streamline our in-house systems.

Current and future innovative strategies

We utilise our Senior IT Consultant’s expertise and networks to improve our technological advancements which have been significant over the past year. We are always open to trying new technologies and tools as they emerge, helping us to understand capabilities, limitations and whether they will be beneficial to the organisation. Our staff complete wellbeing sessions and at least 2 monthly courses to increase skills and knowledge on subjects like green and sustainability training or best ways to support your employer using social media, for example.

We have signed the SME Climate Commitment recognised by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, joining a wide range of governments, businesses, cities, regions, and universities around the world that are committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions. We are committed to promoting sustainability and aim to follow environmentally friendly practices to reduce the ecological impact of our activities and help our clients and partners do the same. We actively think about how we implement and achieve this in daily decisions by using local services and businesses wherever possible.

Our environmental and sustainability policies promote The OPRA Group’s awareness and importance of being a green aware company. 

We take the following actions:

· Waste is kept to a minimum with the majority being recycled

· Energy consumption is reduced with equipment only being switched on when in use

· Use of laptops means we are more efficient in power consumption

· Purchase of environmentally friendly products

· Promotion of car sharing

· Promotion of walk/cycle to work as part of our Wellbeing Strategy

· We minimise our use of paper and other office consumables

· No plastic/paper cups can be used for the water machine, we only use eco cups

· Minimising plasic merchandise bought for corporate events

· Utilising technology to avoid paper and print, utilising digital business cards for the team, for example.

Our Plans for The Future

The OPRA Group currently has 4 offices, City of London, Basildon in Essex, Stirling, Scotland and Bangkok, Thailand, our long-term strategy is to achieve global expansion with a priority to cover Northern America and Canada. We are very excited to continue to promote our award-wining wellbeing programme to our current and new clients. 

We will continue our involvement in the community to improve Corporate Social Responsibility. This year we have chosen Essex and Harts Air Ambulance Trust as our chosen charity partner. Our events have included a fun and very busy Quiz Night, a large Family Fun Day and we plan to ride 250kms on 2 static bikes in 1 business day, to raise awareness of the 25th Anniversary of Air Ambulance UK! Teaming up with charities and brining awareness to their cause is close to our hearts. Our business values include Integrity, Innovation, Collaboration, Inclusion and Customer Focused, which we consider in all of our decisions. We have also signed the Armed Forces Charter which gives us the focus to help the armed forces, veterans and their families, choose a new career path and utilise those transferrable skills in other ways.


The OPRA Group Do Comic Relief!

Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day was back on Friday 17th March and after a great success last year, our Charity Committee decided it would be important and fun to take part again this year. We joined people across the nation to show that laughter has the power to change lives.

With that in mind we all sponsored one of our Talent Managers Leon Hunter-Rowe, to be quiet for as long as possible, his sponsored silence was a great success last year so we thought we would try and quiet The OPRA Group’s biggest chatterbox again this year! Well done Leon, you have raised so much money for this brilliant cause two years running now! We are very proud of you.

Our Senior Talent Consultant Young Huynh, suggested he would perform 100 press ups for cash this year, as a new innitiative to the day. Young smashed it and finished his sit ups with ease! Well done Young, that’s more money in the pot!

The team paid to take part in the ‘Guess How Many Sweets Are In The Jar Competiton’ with the nearest winning the prize was Lynda Preston with a guess of 94, well done Lyn! Hope you enjoed the sweet treats!

The whole team wore brightly coloured tops, Comic Relief tops, baked cakes to sell and all tried so hard along with being so very busy in the office this week. Well done everyone for putting in the extra effort.

We are proud to say that we exceeded our target by 106% and raised £265! We are assured that this donation will make a powerful difference to people here in the UK and around the world. 

This is how the money helps:

£10 could pay for a day of play sessions for a child with a disability in the UK.

£20 could provide resources for an educational session about mental health and emotional wellbeing for a group of young people in India.

£30 could pay for a support session for a young person in mental health crisis in the UK.

You can view our Just Giving Page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rednoseday23-opra-group-ltd?utm_source=copyLink&utm_medium=fundraising&utm_content=rednoseday23-opra-group-ltd&utm_campaign=pfp-share&utm_term=fef4125ab78f4c3497a83510fc250ffd

#RedNoseDay #ComicRelief #FundRaising


Business Awards UK Winners!

The UK Recruitment Awards 2022 by Business Awards UK were announced in March 2022. The awards acknowledge and recognise exceptional accomplishments by recruitment agencies and organisations throughout the UK. Recruitment and talent agencies entered to compete for award categories for companies and individuals around the United Kingdom, all of which have demonstrated their exceptional achievements in categories such as candidate and client care, innovation and more.

The private panel of judges, consulting from various recruitment sectors with the Business Awards UK team, have declared winners and finalists in many categories. We were overwhelmed and so proud to discover that we won 3 awards and were finalists in a fourth category.

This is what Business Awards UK said about us!

The OPRA Group were selected for their awards due to their approach with each client as a unique entity and going to great lengths to understand their culture, aspirations, and staffing requirements, providing tailored services to source high-quality candidates to meet the client brief.

The OPRA Group have demonstrated impressive growth and have a unique People Solutions Service that sets them apart from the competition. They have also won the New Possible Best New Agency Award 2022 and have several accreditations and partnerships.

Winner: Recruitment Agency of the Year Small

We are not your usual recruitment agency, we are a total people solution, ‘what does that actually mean?’ I hear you cry, well, we have a robust and specialist team of recruiters, but we also offer so much more. We offer a bespoke pre-employment screening service, giving businesses peace of mind that their new recruits are trustworthy and the right people for the job, we aid businesses with a full range of HR functions and offer an award winning wellbeing strategy to other businesses.

As our Director Adele Carnera is the Essex Chair of The Apprenticeship Ambassador Network, we champion Apprenticeships on all levels and have a unique connection including an in-house programme of apprenticeships, with 6 apprentices in our team right now!

Opening an office in Thailand this year has been hard work, however we are proud to now have 4 global offices, so we are grateful that all of these achievements have been marked by this award.

Winner: Best Health & Wellbeing Strategy

Over the last two years we have been working on selecting the right wellbeing specialists to work with, so that we can offer a wide range of wellbeing programmes to businesses of all sizes. Our team have benefited from packages that occurred in blocks of 6 and included subjects like Nutrition, Stress Management, Health in the Workplace, Botanicals, Movement, Supplements and Mindfulness. We have had live sessions including juicing, tea tasting and even Tirapy. Our team have filled out questionnaires after the sessions and this is just a snippet of the feedback: ‘I have really enjoyed the workshops so far and it’s nice to have an outlet and space to explore new wellbeing ideas that I wouldn’t have known or explored off my own bat.’ Also, ‘I always feel supported and cared for by being allowed these windows of wellness during my working week, so thank you for that!’ and ‘I think that the Wellbeing programme offered by The OPRA Group is a very good programme which is accessible to everyone in the company.’

Winner: Best Client Support

Offering the right support to our clients is at the heart of our HR, Recruitment and Pre-Employment Screening Services and is the ethos of our team. Our CIPD qualified HR professionals support businesses when they need them. We work in partnership with our clients to create, implement and guide in all areas of HR to ensure robust processes and policies are in place. Our recruitment consultants and screening professionals put the client’s needs at the forefront of their strategy to ensure the support offered and tasks are completed to the very best of their ability, quickly and efficiently. We are so proud to win this category as we strive to be the best each and every day!

Finalist: Best Candidate Care

Having our candidate care recognised is so important to us, we take pride in each and every candidate we deal with and put forward for well-matched roles. During our recruitment process we advise people who are at different stages in their career and with that brings varied approaches. People just starting out will be guided on CV and interview tips, candidates wishing to change their path will need confidence building conversations when presenting them with opportunities they have not considered and people using OPRA Flex often need guidance on the registration process and advice on starting each new contract. 

Our consultants are regularly receiving email testimonials from candidates who have enjoyed our follow up service and the levels of care we provided to them. 

#BusinessAwardsUK #Awards #Winners


Army Reserve Centre Event Great Warley

We were invited to attend an event at the Army Reserve Centre in Great Warley in June 2023. The hosts, the 124 Transport Squadron, from the 151 Regiment of the Royal Logistics Corps made us really welcome with a reception with coffee and soft drinks to meet the attendees and network with the group. 

151 Regiment RLC is London’s only Logistics Regiment who have supported overseas operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cyprus and more closely to home, we heard about the Olympics 2012, flood relief, the fuel strike, the ambulance strike, the fire strike and Covid19 support.

We sat down at one of the very well-presented tables, laid with poppadoms, naan breads and all the usual accompaniments to an Indian meal. We were joined by a group of friendly people from various Essex based businesses. After the delicious curry supper, we settled down to listen to some very interesting presentations and short films, introduced by Major P. Herlihy about how we can support the Armed Forces Community. The speakers explained to us the importance of The Armed Forces Charter and how it has benefited their businesses in a myriad of ways.

We signed the Armed Forces Charter last year, which was our pledge to support the Armed Forces Community to ensure they are not disadvantaged when moving into future careers. The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation to ensure that those who risk life and limb in our defence are given respect, support and fair treatment, recognising the value of service leavers.

With this in mind, we offer CV reviews, careers and interview advice and a whole host of job and apprenticeship opportunities to help steer people into a new career direction, plus our Flex roles which are a great way to build a CV, try different working environments and industry sectors, which can be very useful during this challenging time. 

The evening was intended for the attendees to understand more about The Armed Forces, what they do and how we can support them through their transition into civilian life. It became apparent that the thorough training, experience, community and lifestyle followed by this talented group of people leads to them being a uniquely driven, hard-working, loyal, pool of talent that any business would be proud to benefit from utilising.

We were treated to a series of moving presentations, where some of the members of the squadron were recognised for their accomplishments and a new Sergeant Major was also appointed.

Finally, we all filed outside to view exercise training sessions, to give us an understanding of the level of fitness required, handle the (unloaded) guns and rifles, both current and old, watch rifle training and were shown a set-up of the kit a soldier would be expected to carry, including bedding, rations, cooking equipment and shelter. It was surprising to feel how heavy it all was! The vehicles displayed were all available for us to clamber inside, so of course we did, even though it was so high! 

What a great event and we look forward to continuing our dedication to the Armed Forces community and hopefully proceeding through to the next level of the charter.

#ArmedForcesCommunity #ArmedForcesCharter #TransferableSkills


British Forces Resettlement Services Job Fairs – BFRS 2023

Following our commitment to sign The Armed Forces Covenant which is a promise to ensure that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly, we were invited to attend BFRS Careers Fairs.

These events provide a bespoke forum for the Armed Forces Community (AFC) to meet and network with a diverse group of national and international exhibitors. During the event they can explore and learn about various industry sectors, what careers are available in the current job market, where qualifications already held are sought after, or what they will need, along with meeting potential training providers (ELC Approved Providers), to gain new qualifications towards future employment.

Here at The OPRA Group, we recognise the unique skills and experience that are inherent within the Forces and when we attend these events, we can clearly see by the enthusiasm, courtesy, and the way people hold and present themselves, what a special group they are. From talking to other employers and our clients, we know that they also have the ability to work well with others in a team, the patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure, have thinking and reasoning skills and the confidence to act quickly. They are a highly diversely skilled set of people.

Our time at the job fairs was filled with chatting to people who were looking for new opportunities for when they leave service. We talked them through our open roles and offered advice on apprenticeships, CVs, interviews, qualifications and how to think about and plan for a change in career. We also spent time networking with businesses who shared the same values as us, we found there were lots of people in construction and engineering businesses and enjoyed making the new connections.

The event was really well attended with over 100 business exhibiting and a constant stream of attendees flowing through throughout. We really enjoyed the hospitality, when we had a moment, plenty of sandwiches, crisps, cakes, sausage rolls and drinks, we can’t wait for the next one!

#ArmedForcesCommunity #ArmedForcesCovenant #TransferableSkills 


We Team Up with EHAAT and attend a Tour!

This week we were lucky enough to enjoy a very special tour around the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) Visitor Centre in North Weald. We met Volunteers, Paramedics, Doctors, Pilots and staff that were all so inspiring with many stories of saving lives.

This charity is so important and we are so glad that we have chosen to partner with them for the year as we also met Katie Lee and her friendly family, who had such an inspiring story. Katie was airlifted by EHAAT in 2019 following a horrific car accident on the M11 and she had a very emotional reunion with some of the crew that were involved in her care, Critical Care Paramedic Gaynor Wareham, who tasked our crew to that mission, and pilot Will Hordley who flew to the scene that day. We felt very privileged to be there to witness how much it meant to all.

During our visit we were shown two main rooms, one was an informative interactive space, in the middle of which was a life size model of the inside of one of the actual helicopters. We were shown a presentation which was a reconstruction of an event they may attend. 

The second room was a high tech simulation space where the room could chage via projections onto the walls, fans to simulate wind and sound affects to make the space into a nightclub, football match, march, carnical, hospital or even shopping centre. They had night time effects and another space that could be simulated to be an ambulance. This type of interactive training, using state of the art models as the patients, gives a much more realistic approach to the real situations they may attend.

Afterwards, were thrilled to be amongst the winners of the ‘A Very British Afternoon Tea’ competition sponsored by The English Cream Tea Company Ltd, hosted by Jane Malyon. We enjoyed the most delicious scones with plenty of fresh cream and jam, luxurious brownies, lemon drizzle cake and cute perfecty baked teapot shaped biscuits! Such a treat! 

We were presented with a large selection of great quality teas in individual, beautifully packaged boxes, all tied up with a large silky red ribbon! Thanks #EHAAT and Jane, the team are delighted to be refreshed by them!

We are looking forward to planning events and fund-raising drives, to raise as much as we can. The visitor centre is an amazing resource and fascinating to be shown around. Thank you for the gorgeous treats from Jane and our lovely prize a selection of teas for the office! Fundraising ideas are flowing, we’re looking forward to this year’s events!

Here’s a link to our Just Giving Page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/opra-group-ltd