Paragon Skills working in partnership with Optionis

Apprentices are an integral part of Optionis’ business

Optionis is an employer that clearly recognises the value that apprenticeships play in building their long-term talent pipeline and achieving their business objectives.

Helen Pedder – Optionis Group Head of HR tells us –

“At Optionis, our apprentices are an integral part of our business and we’re heavily invested in their professional training and development. We’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that our apprentices have had, not only to the long-term goals of the business but in building their own successful careers”.

Optionis is a professional services group specialising in managing accountancy tax, employment and legislative compliance. The group provides a range of market-leading solutions to the UK’s professional contingent and small businesses workforce, and has been a key employer of apprentices since 2010.

Optionis’ commitment to apprenticeships

Their in-house Learning and Development team work closely with managers across the group to ensure that training needs are met. On average Optionis employ just over 10% of their total headcount as apprentices across their multiple business sites in the UK, of which a significant proportion progress to permanent positions within the business. The team has career maps in place for all apprentices with clearly outlined progression opportunities for each specific career path.

Paragon Skills are Optionis’ chosen apprenticeship training provider partner and this involves delivering an apprenticeship solution to employees across their multiple business sites throughout England in addition to managing their Academy – a dedicated training facility based at their Warrington office.

Sandra Smith

Head of Partnerships – Paragon Skills

This is a fantastic opportunity to work in partnership with the Optionis Group. We are delighted to see the positive progression being made by the apprentices and how keen they are to apply their new knowledge and skills in the workplace. We look forward to continuing to develop our partnership and work closely with Optionis to maximise the positive impact that apprenticeships can have across all aspects of their business.

Dedicated Optionis Training Academy

We are currently delivering apprenticeship training to over 150 employees/apprentices at the Academy. This partly includes new employees / apprentices recruited by our specialist recruitment services and matched to the employer, and current Optionis employees that are upskilling through a variety of apprenticeships. We offer the same services throughout the group’s multiple business sites to ensure that we meet the recruitment objectives to develop the organisation’s talent pool, and develop the skills of current employees.

Helen explains how apprenticeships play a valuable part in developing a talent pool –

“We recognised the need for additional support within specific business areas, including Accounts, Administration, Tax and Payroll, which we believed would offer suitable opportunities for those wishing to start a career in these areas.”

Delivering a bespoke apprenticeship solution

Paragon Skills currently manage the delivery of apprenticeships across the group’s business sites and the Optionis Academy for the development of their accounts professionals and support staff through a mixture of classroom-based delivery, workplace learning and blended programmes which include:

  • Assistant Accountant apprenticeship Standard (Level 3) including Level 2 & 3 AAT qualifications
  • Professional Accounting apprenticeship Standard (Level 4) including Level 4 AAT qualification
  • Professional Accountancy apprenticeship Standard (Level 7)
  • Business Administration apprenticeship (Level 2)
  • Business Administrator apprenticeship Standard (Level 3)
  • ILM (Institute of Leadership & Management) accredited Team Leader / Supervisor Standard (Level 3)
  • ILM accredited Operations Management apprenticeship Standard (Level 5)
Identifying the ‘Skills’ needs of the business

After performing a detailed operational skills needs analysis, we identified an apprenticeship solution that meets the core business (that being accountancy) and also the wider business and support functions.

In order to meet the diverse and wide sectorial requirements of the employer, we identified key partner organisations with whom to work with, ensuring that levy funding is utilised in the most effective way.

Our Personal Tutors deliver bespoke training to each apprentice based on their needs, starting points and end goals. In addition, they set the pace of learning, holding regular reviews with each apprentice to ensure they are supported to completion.

Bespoke marketing support from Paragon Skills

To meet the employers’ needs in terms of developing a talent pipeline and attracting new apprentices to junior accountancy roles, our Marketing team created unique concepts based around the concept ‘A career that counts’ and deliver a multi-channel campaign including on and offline marketing.

In addition, we are able to offer Optionis extended dual-branded services to create literature designed to promote the possibilities for upskilling internally to current employees. ‘Lead the Way’ is a concept designed to encourage progression for current supervisors on a management programme through accredited ILM leadership and management training across the group’s business sites.

Find out the latest news about Opionis apprenticeship programme.

Find out how apprenticeships can benefit your business

We work in partnership to understand what is important to your organisation and how apprenticeships can help to achieve your business goals. Our dedicated approach recognises each individual employers’ needs and enables us to deliver a unique apprenticeship solution that drives the maximum benefits for your organisation.

If you would like to discuss your apprenticeship training requirements, then please call us on 0800 783 2545.

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