Press releases | 12 Jun 2017

Travers Smith announces new LGBT mentoring programme in partnership with Just Like Us

Overview

Travers Smith LLP is proud to announce the launch of a new LGBT+ mentoring programme in partnership with LGBT charity Just Like Us.

The new programme aims to give LGBT+ graduates the skills, confidence and support as they transition from university life to full time employment.

Entering the workplace can be daunting experience for LGBT+ people. Many LGBT+ people come out at university, but a staggering 60 per cent go back into the closet when they start work. Having to conceal your identity or sexual orientation can be a big struggle. Research conducted by Stonewall* shows that people who are open about their sexuality at work are more likely to enjoy going to work, feel able to be themselves, form honest relationships with their colleagues, are more confident, and ultimately more productive. LGBT+ workplace inclusion evidently makes good business sense.

There is a clear need therefore to empower young LGBT+ people to be confident in their identity and sexual orientation at work, and to support them in reaching their full career potential.

Through this one-to-one mentoring programme we hope to:

  • develop the skills and employability of LGBT+ students
  • support LGBT+ young people to be confident in their identity and be openly LGBT+ at work
  • help LGBT+ student build confidence in the transition from university to work

In this first year, 25 mentors, selected by Travers Smith, will be working with LGBT+ university students from across the country, giving them the skills and advice to guide them through a period of significant change and start their first job confident in being themselves.

The mentors come from diverse backgrounds within the LGBT+ community and are drawn from a wide range of industries and professions. Some of the mentors for this first year include: Brian Bickell, CEO Shaftesbury; Amy Lamé, The Mayor of London's "Night Tsar"; Stonewall Role Model, Tamoor Ali, BP, and former RAF pilot Ayla Holdom, together with Travers Smith partner Daniel Gerring, and Head of HR Carly Hubbard.

Speaking about the new programme, Travers Smith Partner and Chair of its LGBT+ Network, Daniel Gerring, said: "We are delighted to be working with Just Like Us on this new, exciting mentoring programme. This initiative is a great example of Travers Smith adding value by sharing our insight and expertise and working in partnership to empower a generation of emerging LGBT+ talent. The addition of this programme to our extensive portfolio of LGBT+ projects underlines the firm's continued support of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and wider community".

Just Like Us is a charity aimed at empowering LGBT+ young people in their transition from the classroom to their careers. The charity works with LGBT+ university students, and partners with employers to train them to be school role models and LGBT+ leaders.

Tim Ramsey, CEO of Just Like Us, added: "We wanted to give something back to our courageous ambassadors who have worked with over 15,000 school students in the last year. Travers Smith have been the perfect partners to do exactly that: developing a mentoring scheme that will help empower our ambassadors to start work as future LGBT+ leaders, confident in their identity and openly LGBT+."

Speaking about her role as one of the first mentors, Amy Lamé, Night Czar for London, GLA, said:  “I am delighted to take part in this exciting new mentoring programme. Supporting young LGBTQ+ people and helping them realise their true potential has always been a passion of mine, and I look forward to working with Travers Smith and Just Like on this great initiative”

Speaking ahead of the launch, Lord Peter Mandelson, a supporter of Just Like Us, said: "I'm delighted to be launching the Just Like Us Mentoring Scheme today. I believe that what happens to us when we're young can have life-long impact on our ability to realise our potential. This mentoring programme offers LGBT young people the support and guidance needed to help them start their first job confident in their identity and sexuality and openly LGBT. When people are able to be themselves, they are able to be their best."