The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) is the expert membership organisation for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals and I presented a session on ensuring their services were inclusive of and attractive to LGBT students. Brief headlines follow, but feel free to contact me for slides and further information:
- LGBT people have protection under the law, there’s much more representation in the news, drama and the arts, young people are sooooo gender fluid these days, so what’s the problem?!…..
- …recent research into UK LGBT students shows: higher drop out/break in study rates; higher incidence of mental health, poorer rates of wellbeing
- What might explain this? – need to juggle multiple identities (possibly ‘out’ in tutorial groups, part-time work, with some friends; still in closet at home, in home country, in sports team, in hall of residence). It’s exhausting!
- Intersectionality and identity: a student might not just be LGBT, but might also be of a minority ethnic group, disabled, female – being disadvantaged in many ways, leading to ‘minority stress’
- What do LGBT students want: acknowledgement that they exist; information on rights at work; coming out advice, guarantee that careers staff have some awareness of issue and even identify as LGBT themselves; information on why employers actively seek out LGBT applicants, advice on managing transition into: p/time work, internships, placements, f/time jobs, PG study
- What does this mean for Career Services (and wider student services)? – don’t assume all is OK; look at your provision through an LGBT lens: guidance discussions; teaching; information; marketing; recruiter liaison.
- Collaborate with the following with a review of your service: academic departments; student support services; students’ union elected officers and permanent staff; LGBT Staff Networks; Alumni Office for LGBT alumni.
- AND CONSULT LGBT STUDENTS – they know stuff!