Build your career at Optalis

Find out more about what it's like to work at Optalis with real-life stories from our team. 

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There are plenty of opportunities at all levels, whether you want a stable job in friendly environments or to progress and experience various social care settings. Optalis is a great place to work in all our roles, from administrators, support workers, employment coaches, social workers, occupational therapists, to reablement assistants.  

Paige found her passion for working in care, when she first joined Optalis for her work experience placement in college. She found she liked it so much that she began to volunteer on a regular basis and then moved into a paid role as a carer when she finished her course.

“I really enjoyed it and volunteered every Wednesday and weekends. I built a brilliant relationship with the people we support and the team. It's like a big family. It felt right.”

Later, Paige took the opportunity to work in another Optalis service, supporting people with learning disabilities at the day service (Community Lives). Paige explained

“I learnt a lot working in the day service: how to be patient, thinking on your feet, different ways to problem solve. It also helped me develop skills in the office and how to support people with different disabilities. There are some people living at Suffolk Lodge now, who I can help more because of my new knowledge about different conditions.”

Having broadened her knowledge and skills Paige took up a new challenge and applied for a senior role. Paige adds

“I really like supporting people living with dementia, so I came back to Suffolk Lodge when a role was available.”
“I’ve been a senior for a year now and I love it, it's challenging but I enjoy it and have a good team behind me. I feel like I’m making a difference. If there's an emergency or if a resident is poorly you have to make decisions. You have to take responsibility. I have also been allocated as the medication lead, so I am responsible for all the medication, ordering, counting and reviews.
I’ve had lots of training to help me develop in my role. I completed the supervision training, which was helpful to work out what it means and what I must do as a senior.”

With an ambition to move into a deputy manager role in the future Paige plans to utilise the development opportunities at Optalis.

“I’m about to start my NVQ level 3. I am looking to progress my training though Optalis.”

Caroline joined Optalis over eight years ago, she currently works in our Extra Care service in Wokingham. The service has 19 flats, with some residents who receive care support packages. We spoke to Caroline about her role as a support worker.

Caroline explained that she usually works either a 7:00am to 2:30pm shift or a 2:30 to 9pm. Caroline described her morning shift to us so that we could understand what her role involved.

“I start the day with the team on shift, we get a handover from the night staff and discuss anything that needs to be done that day. I also read the comms book to update myself.

We are given a call list and go and do the calls. Working in a fixed location means that I know everyone’s needs across the service and can support any of the calls. This might include personal care, assisting with medication, laundry, supporting a person to get ready to go to an appointment.
We also do welfare checks for the resident’s who do not receive a care support package, where we check in on them during the day to make sure they are ok.

The calls we are given are based around the care needs of each person, we have to flex and adapt depending on the person’s needs that day. We are usually allocated six people a shift, and two to three of those people we support with another carer on a double up call. The team work well together and we can always call on each other if needed. By 10:30am everyone’s morning routine is generally done and I can take a short break.

At around 11am, we support the residents with their morning routine, from assisting with toileting, to helping people to choose and prepare lunch. Some people need a bit of support to use the microwave and we have some people who need support to eat and drink their meals. It is really varied and each call is different.

After lunch we do a bit of house work and domestic calls before heading back to the office to do handover, write the care notes and record anything in the handover book, and then it’s time to head home.”

“It’s a great team, everyone’s really supportive. You learn a lot and grow as a person. There is a good support network if you want to train and progress but there is no pressure to.”

Mandy started out working for Optalis Day Services and was redeployed to the Short Term Support and Reablement Team (STS&R) during the pandemic. She has really taken to the role of Reablement Assistant, so much so, that she recently took up a permanent position within the team. She talked to us about her experiences so far, and why the role appeals to her:

Mandy explains: "I enjoy the interaction I have with our customers. I am going into people’s homes, often they are unwell and I may be the only person they see all day. They are happy to see me. I will work with a customer for a short period of time, around 4-6 weeks, and in that time you really start to see a positive difference."

What does a typical day look like?
I work shift work, an early shift is 7am-3pm and late shift is 3pm- 11pm. Each shift, I am given a schedule of care calls which I work my way through. The day is spilt into 4 blocks of ‘calls’

  • Morning Calls, 7am-11am
  • Lunch Calls, 12pm-3pm
  • Tea Calls, 3pm-6pm
  • Evening Calls, 6pm -11pm

The number of calls a customer has over the course of the day, depends on what they need. We would support people with a range of daily living tasks, including personal care, getting dressed, meal preparation and other tasks around the home. The level of support the person receives also depends on what they need, for example, we may make a meal for the customer or supervise them preparing their own meal.

Everyone is so helpful, supportive and easy to talk to. I did not have experience of working in this way before, so started out shadowing more experienced colleagues. They took the lead and I was able to follow and learn along the way. Now I’m on my own I know I can call on the team for support at any time.