Get your month-by-month career action plan straight to your inbox
The careerhacker.ai team caught up with Harvey Morton, a Business Associate apprentice at Publicis media, to discuss apprenticeships, Pride, employers and community. Young people who opt to take the university route often have an understanding of the many clubs and societies where they might find friendship, community and a space for common interests. Apprenticeships, by contrast, don't have as much of an established culture of student organisation. We find out more from Harvey:
Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?
Originally, I planned on going to university; it’s where I saw my life going and where all my schools were pushing me towards for various reasons. It wasn’t until the reality of what university was, and how much it would cost, hit me that I knew that I couldn’t go. I wasn’t really sure what apprenticeship I’d like to do but I knew that they are an evolving form of Higher Education that would let me earn enough to support myself whilst learning important and relevant skills for work.
There is generally a defined LGBTQ+ scene or society at unis. Did this influence your decision on uni vs apprenticeship?
I certainly feel much more comfortable around other LGBTQ+ people than I do “cishets” (cisgender,heterosexual people). I think this is because I know I can be more unabashedly myself and not have to worry about homophobia or transphobia. Though being as I’m generally quite… visible, I feel like people are more shocked when I tell them I’m non-binary than gay. All of this made me see university as a safe haven for me to discover who I am around other young LGBTQ+ people who I could really relate to; whilst at work the majority of the people in our LGBTQ+group are quite a few years older than I am and more sure of themselves, I’m hoping that the LGBTQ+ group that WhiteHat are making will help give me the experiences I’ve been hoping for!
Is your employer doing anything for Pride or do they have any initiatives generally?
My employer granted the LGBTQ+group a budget to let us march in London Pride for the second year running (Our theme is “Reign at the Parade” in case you were wondering), unfortunately I can’t march with them as I’m actually volunteering for London Pride that day. As far as I’m aware, there aren’t any specific initiatives for LGBTQ+ workers but they make sure that inclusivity and diversity is always on their minds.
Were you aware of LGBTQ+ support or societies in the workforce before you joined?
Yes, I was very aware of my company’s LGBTQ+ group before I joined. We’re not as big in the UK as they are in other countries but we’re working on it! In New York, they even have an annual drag pageant for the employees there.
How have you found your life as an apprentice and member of the LGBTQ+ community generally?
I don’t think my status as someone who is LGBTQ+ has affected my apprentice life in the slightest. No one particularly cares, as long as you’re not being disrespectful to anyone there’s no reason we all can't get along!
Do you have any other thoughts about your apprenticeship?
Sometimes I worry that I’ve made the wrong decision, maybe I should have gone to university after all? Then I remember all the benefits that my apprenticeship has given me, I’ve already gotten a job that pays well, gone on holiday once this year already (planning to go at least twice more this year) and met some truly wonderful people that I’m glad I have in my life. For some context as well, anyone worrying that you won’t earn enough on an apprenticeship, by the time my friends are finished at uni, I will have earned £15,000 more than the total of my tuition and maintenance loans and I can spend that in whatever gay way I want.