Political parties reach out to gay graduates

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The Labour and Conservative parties are among the organisations and businesses featured in the latest Stonewall guide for gay and lesbian job seekers.

The third Starting Out guide was launched last night at the University of London Students Union (ULU).

Representatives of many of the companies listed in the guide attended, as did LGB students from across the country.

At 322 pages, this year’s Starting Out is the biggest so far, and a speaker at the launch expressed the hope that in years to come it will be the size of a phone book.

Police forces, the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, banks, government departments and agencies, fire and rescue services, local authorities, media companies, well-known high street retailers and third sector organisations all feature in the guide.

Ben Summerskill, speaking at last night’s launch event, thanked ULU for their continued support and told the audience that in his student days meetings for gay people could not be held in students unions because it was too dangerous.

“This year’s guide is remarkable,” he said.

“We did a calculation yesterday that the companies and public sector organisations that feature in this year’s guide between them employ more than 10% of the UK workforce.

“That means if you are young and lesbian or gay, you can have a real ambition to work for an employer who will value and nurture you in the years to come.

“The other remarkable thing we have heard this year from many university careers services is that it has not just been lesbian and gay students who have been looking at the guide, it has been, in particular, young heterosexual female students.

“What some of those graduate recruits have twigged is that those employers who are doing good stuff, or aspiring to do good stuff, around sexual orientation are probably aspiring to be good employers across the board.

“That is a sign of how Britain is changing in the early twenty-first century and something we welcome enormously.”

The guide is once again supported by Credit Suisse, who also provided the hospitality at last night’s launch.

Jemima Jefferson, European Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Credit Suisse, said:

“If we didn’t have Stonewall, where would our employees go for their advice, and where would we go as a company to find the support that we need?

“We are really pleased to be able to support Stonewall in this way – they do the most fantastic job for gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the whole of the UK.”

20,000 hard copies of Starting Out are being distributed to student unions, university careers services, employment agencies and university lesbian and gay societies across Britain.

Starting Out is also available online.