Optalis celebrated its dedicated apprentices during National Apprenticeship Week, urging more people to consider apprenticeships as a career option.

Optalis provides care and support services to older people and adults with disabilities, across the Berkshire region.

This year’s campaign which ran from 3 to 7 February with the theme of ‘Look Beyond’, aiming to encourage people to look beyond traditional routes into employment and explore the diversity of career options now available to them through apprenticeships.

As part of the campaign, Optalis have shared their compelling stories to highlight the talent and energy that apprentices bring into the workplace. One of these apprentices is Tanya Snooks, who is in her first year of her three-year BSC Honours Social Work Degree Apprenticeship.

Tanya found out about the apprenticeship through the Principal Social Worker at Optalis and expressed an interest. 6 on, she now attends Bucks New University once a week alongside working with the community team at Optalis to support adults with physical disabilities and long term health conditions and older people.

Tanya hopes to be a qualified social worker in the next two and a half years and looks forward to her role developing, taking on safeguarding and Court of Protection work, with the vision of moving on to a more senior role to support others with similar career aspirations.

She added: “I have always wanted to do a social work degree since starting my job in the Physical Disabilities and Older People Team, over eight years ago. Doing the apprenticeship meant that I could stay in the company doing a job I love.”

Another employee at Optalis, who has enrolled in an apprenticeship and is already gaining invaluable experience in the workplace is Amber Wickens, Human Resources Assistant.

Amber worked in sales at a car dealership and although enjoyed it at the time, didn’t see any development opportunities. She then discovered Optalis, who has since helped her to become a HR Assistant and supported her ambition of becoming a HR practitioner.

She added: “I like working here and my team are very supportive. It’s such a great organisation to grow in, there are always opportunities to get your teeth stuck into.”

Optalis pride themselves on their in-house learning and development and offer a full programme of support for apprentices right through to aspiring managers, as part of their development programme.

Jeannette Crisp Director of HR and Corporate Services, at Optalis, added: “Our apprentices fulfil a vital role in our organisation. We support and mentor and always encourage development and progression, so we are able to retain our talented workforce.  

“Our vision is to create opportunities, which have a positive impact on every person and community we operate in, providing innovative, safe services to our customers.”

In addition to hosting apprentices in services and supporting student placements from education establishments; Optalis is currently supporting 14 employees in their chosen apprenticeship. The apprenticeships range from HR to Finance and Health and Social Care to Social Work.

Optalis recognise that staff are their most valuable asset and caring is more than just a job to them. As a result Optalis is committed to their wellbeing and development.