Investment in our people is paramount to us at Optivo

At Optivo, we develop places with people, not profit, in mind, building homes and communities where people can thrive. We’re one of the largest housing providers in the UK and a member of the G15 group of London’s largest housing associations. We’ve over 45,000 homes across London, the South East and the Midlands, giving 90,000 people somewhere affordable to call their own.

And we’re growing. Our strategic plan 2020-25 has been launched with ambitious plans to have started the construction of 7,000 new homes by 2025 (85% of which will be affordable

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We’re about more than bricks and mortar

We’re about building communities. Our founders were passionate about helping families with a housing need. At Optivo, we’re continuing that strong commitment to social purpose.

We invest heavily in neighbourhood community programmes, helping our residents with training, careers advice, financial and digital inclusion so they can develop their potential and live their best lives.

Our residents are at the heart of everything we do – it’s what distinguishes us and makes us unique. At every level of the business, our residents work alongside us as one team, to co-create, scrutinise and improve our work so we can deliver brilliant service and value for money. In order to provide sector-leading service, we need an extraordinary team, so investment in our people is paramount.

“We have an excellent relationship with our Director of Partnerships – Julie Proctor, who is quick to respond to our queries and is efficient in managing our account. Ultimately, we now have an outstanding group of learners whose willingness to learn is nurtured and supported by Optivo and Paragon Skills jointly.”

The success of the ILM programme has also enabled us to recommend Paragon Skills to staff for other courses such as Business Administration.

Embedding our culture and core values

As part of our culture of offering opportunities to our staff to grow, develop and thrive, we wanted to provide our managers with the skills to be confident and have the opportunity to complete a formal leadership and management qualification to improve their skills using a tailored but consistent approach. We also wanted to ensure the programme would support and embed our culture and CORE values, so initial consultation was crucial. As the business has varying sites, locations and several types of management roles, we wanted a provider who could cater to these needs whilst allowing us to personalise our programme to meet all of these needs.

It took time and effort from all of us to understand and agree on our ways of working, but it was worth it. Our partnership has led to us having rolling cohorts and bespoke workshops based on our business priorities. Programme resources have been developed using our own data and specific company information to ensure sessions are relevant and appropriate to our staff and our sector.

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Delivering a bespoke apprenticeship solution

We found Paragon Skills very receptive to our feedback, requirements and ways of working. For example, the Paragon Skills team have attended culture sessions, run by us to understand our ways of working, our cultural language, our CORE values and expectations of our managers. This same session is delivered to any new personal tutors brought on board to ensure a consistent approach for our staff.

We were initially cautious about the customisation for our requirements, but through careful negotiation and a willingness to deliver an exceptional programme from both of us, we have now found that the programme delivers to an excellent standard and our people are loving it and are most importantly learning.

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