Online grocery business Ocado has partnered with Career Accelerator on its LGBT+ business mentoring programme to mentor students and help prepare them for the world of work.
The LGBT+ business mentoring programme was introduced to Ocado by its Global Listening & Engagement Specialist, Elise Tyler, after participating in Pride and LGBT roundtables hosted by Career Accelerator.
Ocado has joined Career Accelerator’s LGBT+ business mentoring programme with five employees as mentors after Elise heard Mayur Gupta, CEO at Career Accelerator, cite a Vodafone study that said 41% of 18-25-year-olds have gone ‘back into the closet’ within their first year of employment for fear of discrimination.
LGBT+ business mentoring programme
Career Accelerator introduced the innovative LGBT+ business mentoring programme last year. It provides meaningful volunteering opportunities to LGBT+ networks and supports businesses to become inclusive places for LGBT+ youth to thrive. Companies including Cisco, GoCardless, Snapchat, Ocado, JLL, Pearson and Salesforce have all taken part with employees mentoring young LGBT+ people.
According to Stonewall, 45% of young people are bullied for being LGBT+ at school and half of bullied LGBT+ pupils feel that bullying has hurt their plans for future education. LGBT+ young people’s assumptions about how safe or inclusive a workplace is can significantly narrow the employment and career paths they feel are open to them.
Elise said: “I am co-chair of the Pride leadership group – a group started by our logistics team in 2017. After hearing the heart-breaking statistic about young people going back into the closet, I wanted to do something to help change this, and the LGBT+ business mentoring programme seemed like a good way to do this.
“It’s been hugely successful, and we’ve all learnt a great deal. As mentors, it provided us with different experiences and perspectives with people who are about to enter the workforce. It has made us consider how we present ourselves to the world and how we can promote the business as a good place to work by listening to what young people want and value.”
Leading by example
Elise mentored a young law student at Cambridge University. She spent a lot of time discussing authenticity, leadership and D&I. She also encouraged them to always research a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion as it will give them insight into whether it’s the type of organisation they want to work for.
The mentee had never thought about doing this, but since working with Elise to understand how beneficial this is, they will hopefully be able to make an informed choice about where they want to work and find a company that reflects their values and will accept them for who they are. It’s already proved extremely useful.
During the programme, the mentee was applying for an internship and spent a great deal of time researching the organisation they thought they wanted to do this at, providing Elise with a fantastic and insightful report, which impressed her enormously.
As a result of how well the programme has gone, Elise plans to rerun it with other employees as mentors so that more people can benefit from such a positive and enlightening experience across the organisation.
The LGBT+ programme runs in collaboration with PinkNews Futures and National Student Pride to support 18-30-year-old LGBT+ people preparing for careers in the modern economy through 1:1 business mentoring led by LGBT+ mentors at LGBT+ inclusive companies.
This consists of a one-hour training session and three one-hour mentoring sessions over three months. Career Accelerator selects the LGBT+ mentees, trains the mentors and mentees, supports them with session ideas and puts together impact reports for the business. To find out how to get involved, click here.
For more information on Career Accelerator, visit: www.careeraccelerator.io