Ace@Optalis is a course run by Wokingham-based social care provider Optalis through its Supported Employment Service. The aim of the course is to prepare and support students through their transition from Reading college learning disability department into the work environment.
Over the past year, a total of 13 students from Reading College learning disability department have attended Optalis’ Head Office at Trinity Court to take part in the course, which consisted of group sessions, specialist 1-1 job coaching, preparing for the workplace, travel training, work experience and paid work.
Donna Morgans, Optalis Supported Employment Service Manager, commented: “Supported Employment Service continues to provide a first-class service and each and every one on the team works tirelessly to enable each student to reach their employment goals and aspirations. I am extremely proud of our Class of 2019 and the dedication of my team!”
Students have also regarded the course as a source of confidence and self-esteem that has helped them to identify and secure their first paid job after college. They commented: ‘I have become more independent travelling and have more knowledge on what to expect in a paid job’ and ‘Ace@Optalis has helped me to build my confidence and get my first paid job’.
The graduation event, which took place at Reading College, was attended by students, their family members and employers, as well as The Worshipful the Mayor of Wokingham Borough Councillor Bill Soane.
The bespoke course was originally set up by Optalis and Reading College five years ago and continues to see success year on year with students achieving their employment aspirations – this year, 100% achieved their goals and ambitions and 90% are now in paid employment.
The supported employment team at Optalis also work with local employers to secure job opportunities for students on completion of the course. Students have previously secured roles such as a trainee website administrator, coffee shop assistant and retail assistant positions.