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Stepping up to a new job

A specialist supported employment service run by our social care company Optalis gives people with disabilities, substance issues and carers a foothold into work experience, paid employment and education.

The emphasis is to ‘place and train,’ rather than ‘train then place’. This means people get a job right from the start.

Optalis works with companies including Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Oracle Shopping Centre retailers, schools and IT companies. These are placements in real work environments which match that person’s talents and aspirations.

“For example, some of our clients took over the Rainbow Café in Wokingham and prepared, cooked and served homemade soup to customers including Wokingham Borough Mayor Cllr John Kaiser,” said Donna Morgans, Optalis’ Supported Employment Service Manager.

“By working in a professional kitchen, it gave them invaluable work experience and developed and boosted their confidence. We believe that anyone can become employed if they’re motivated to work, given the right job for them, and the right support.”

Optalis’ success means we consistently remain in the top ten of 161 UK local authorities for supporting people with learning disabilities and autism into paid employment.

More information: www.optalis.org