Kai decided to do an apprenticeship instead of going to university | Photo: Supplied
It’s currently unknown how many LGBTI people are doing apprenticeships.
Despite this, the UK’s National Society of Apprentices (NSOA) estimates less LGBTI people are taking up the opportunity. They think it’s because of the same preconceptions people have about any workplace:
‘We don’t know how many LGBTI people there are doing apprenticeships,’ Alex Rollason from the NSOA tells Gay Star News. ‘But, we do know for other protected characteristics, just not for LGBTI people. Going forward that’s a worry.’
The organization believes, at least where more traditional apprenticeships are concerned, that fewer LGBTI people are doing them because of the worries about how offices might react to people coming out.
One workplace that is breaking down those barriers already is Deloitte.
Last week during National Apprenticeship Week they showcased many case studies about working for the firm.
Em Sendall is a Consulting manager at Deloitte and co-chairs GLOBE, their LGBT+ network:
‘We want to make sure LGBT+ people at Deloitte never feel they have to leave their identities at the door when they walk into the office.’
Is university the best option for me?
Kai Constantine had to decide whether to go to university or do an apprenticeship when it came to pursuing a career in Cyber Security. In his Bright Start Higher Apprenticeship he says the best aspect is how socially focused it feels:
‘I meet so many new people, all with different backgrounds and experiences. It’s fascinating understanding what they do and learning from them. It’s all part of the hands-on experience being a BrightStart gives me.
Kai has always been interested in technology and says so working on a big digital project with a well-known household brand has been ‘amazing.’
He’s been helping them build a new website and mobile app while integrating their products with a voice control system.
‘My role is to test that the online order process is working properly – so that everything is right for the customer when the website goes live. If there’s a problem, I talk to the developers and the client to resolve it. I’ve been to the client’s office lots of times; I enjoy the variety.’
Kai has found this all very rewarding because he says the work is ‘real:’
‘I thought I’d start by shadowing someone, working in the background – but I do real work and talk to actual clients. Seeing the end product of all our hard work makes me feel proud.’
Advice for LGBTI people who want an apprenticeship
Hannah Colston from National Society of Apprentices says doing your research, just like any job search, it is vital for all people searching for an apprenticeship.
‘When you are searching, find out as much as you can about what you’ll be doing at the apprenticeship – because some are amazing.’
As well as finding out what you will be doing at work, it’s also important to find out what the 20% ‘off the job’ training includes. It’s a requirement for anyone offering apprenticeships.
‘Some employers have been shaky on giving both a job and the required training. A good way to find out what your employer might be like is to ask: what does the ‘off the job’ training look like? If it’s a good apprenticeship, they will have thought that through and will have a good answer for you.’
Hannah advises you to check existing lists of LGBTI friendly employers in your search too. Noting the civil service as one good example of an LGBTI friendly employer with good apprenticeships.
Also, don’t forget to check how much you will get paid because that can vary too:
‘For example, some may be as low £3.50 per hour – though that is going up. Currently, lots pay way above that too, so that is worth checking.’
Another discount worth checking out when you become an apprentice is the NUS Apprentice extra discount card which can help make life as an apprentice much cheaper.
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