Student Pride : I can see, so I can be

Student Pride : I can see, so I can be

Student Pride takes place in London between 4th and 7th February, with a diverse programme of events that include a screening of hit movie Milk with a Q&A with Stuart Milk, Mental Health discussions, careers fair and a YouTube star panel event. Ahead of the event and the popular careers fair at the University of Westminster on 6th February, Jamie Wareham, Director Of Communications at Student Pride, asks ‘Should you write your LGBT achievements on your CV?’ It seems graduates up and down the country are not getting the best advice when it comes to this question. What’s your experience?

At a previous Student Pride event, a London Metropolitan Banking student, told us how much he wanted to get on a acclaimed Lloyds professional services graduate scheme. To make sure he nailed the application, he asked for advice from this lecturer. Part of the advice they gave him included taking out being the LGBT society president, despite the vast amount he’d achieved and the leadership skills this showed about him. “Its not relevant”, he was told.

The frustrating irony of this? Companies like EY, in the professional service industry, are desperate for LGBT graduates to join their scheme. EY have sponsored Student Pride for six years and Tom Guy the President of organisation, says this story is all to common to hear from Student Pride sponsors.

Liz Bingham, Managing Partner for People, UK & Ireland at EY and Student Pride ambassador, says : “At EY we are passionate about enabling people to come together in an environment where they feel included and respected. National Student Pride enables LGBT students to do just that.”

“It may be a cliche, but there is a lot to be said for ‘I can see, so I can be’.”

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) friendly employers who are involved with the event take part in what is now one of the largest LGBT student career fairs in the UK. They do so to meet LGBT graduates and introduce them to the workplace.

So why do careers advisers get people to play down their LGBT diversity? Perhaps its because the perception that being out in the workplace is still difficult. 62% of graduates go back into the closet after getting a job. I know I thought very carefully about coming out at my job, I wanted to be seen on my merit – not for being the only gay in the office.

Perhaps it is down to culture. Many companies shout from the rooftops about their equality and diversity policy, but the London Metropolitan student told us another of his mentors who works in investment banking said, “There is a lot of talk about diversity, but in practice, not much has changed”. It seems any business where clients are involved, that may still hold homophobic views, affect the way hiring is taken on.

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5 – 7 February 2016

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James McFadzean at the London School of Economics bucks the trend by not only being out at work, but by giving positive advice about adding LGBT to your CV. Working in the careers department, he thinks, “Being completely open and honest with students, many from international backgrounds, it gives them a chance to witness a gay professional, many of whom they’ll meet in their future working and personal lives.” Because James is out, students are able to approach him for LGBT specific advice. It may be a cliche, but there is a lot to be said for ‘I can see, so I can be’.

Empowering students to be proud about being LGBT is crucial not just for the individual, but for the workplace. LGBT employees bring a vast array of diversity to the workplace and with this, fresh ideas that can revitalise the way we all work. More work needs to be done nationwide to make it clear to students and employers that being open about sexuality, is better for everyone.

This article was originally published by Inclusive Networks in February 2015

SOME OF THE INCLUSIVE EMPLOYERS WHO’LL BE AT THE CAREERS FAIR ON 6TH FEBRUARY :

EY, Clifford Chance, IBM, Aviva, Lloyd’s Banking Group, Enterprise, Tesco, EDF, Google, BP, Balfour Beatty, Ford, RBS, Network Rail, Laing O’Rouke, Fujitsu, PwC, Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force + more.

KEEP CONNECTED WITH STUDENT PRIDE :

About The Author

Thomas Anderson

Founder and MD of Inclusive Networks. Thomas was Chair of the award winning LGBT network for The Co-operative Group, ‘Respect’ (2011-14). Thomas named the network and designed and managed all of the branding, communications and engagement until he stepped down from the role of Chair in March 2014. He also created the branding, name, was Editor of the quarterly magazine and developed the launch of the UK’s first Inter-Retail LGBT network ‘CheckOUT’. He contributed to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 5 Year review. In recognition of his work in the diversity field he was shortlisted for ‘Diversity Champion of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards, shortlisted for ‘Role Model of the Year’ at the 2012 Lesbian & Gay Foundation Homo Heroes Awards and shortlisted for the ‘Positive Action’ award at the 2013 Asian Fire Service Association Fair & Diverse Awards. He also won the 2012 ‘Pride of The Co-operative’ award. He was a judge for Scotland's biggest diversity awards, The Icon Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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