In the UK, more than half of 13-26 year olds do not identify with being ‘straight’ (Ditch the Label, 2017). However research by Gay Times and Kamarama (2020) shows that the LGBTQ+ community is still underrepresented in many diversity and inclusion talent acquisition strategies. They also found that many (82%) see the representation of LGBTQ+ as ‘tokenist’ and only 32% of brands engage with LGBTQ+ outside of Pride. 84% students call for brands to take action.
The Queer Student Awards (QSA) will celebrate students, businesses and role models in the UK who identify as LGBTQ+ and are proudly leading in their lives, and the communities around them.
Founder of the QSA, Steve Keith says; “It has been my belief for a long time that the LGBTQ+ community is underrepresented in many diversity and inclusion talent acquisition strategies. I have founded The Queer Student Awards to provide an opportunity for us all to show our commitment towards positively addressing the adversity that LGBTQ+ youths experience, and to celebrate those who are already leading in their lives and the communities around them”.
The awards will recognise queer individuals aged 16-24 and tackle attitudes towards the queer community. It will also be an opportunity to celebrate queer talent in early careers and those who support them during their first experiences of the workplace.
At this year’s inaugural awards ceremony, ICAEW is proudly sponsoring two categories: Role Model of the Year and Apprentice of the Year. These awards will celebrate LGBTQ+ role models who most inspire those they teach, mentor, manage or lead. In particular, judges will be looking for evidence of the contributions individuals have made towards the success of their team, company or LGBTQ+ employee network.
The QSA nominations will be judged by a panel of student recruitment industry experts, queer influencers and young people from schools, colleges and universities across the UK.
Many of these judges have their own LGBTQ+ stories to share, including ICAEW's own staff member Sarah Hobbs. When talking about their involvement in the awards, Sarah said: "I am looking forward to seeing all the nominations coming through, and all the ways students have embraced being their true authentic selves and generating awareness and conversations around LGBT+ issues''.
Winners will be announced at the virtual live event on Thursday 01 June. The awards evening will be hosted by an influential leader from the LGBTQ+ Community and entertainment will be provided by an LGBTQ+ artist. It will provide a great opportunity to recognise queer individuals aged 16-24 and tackle attitudes towards the queer community, whilst also celebrating queer talent in early careers and those who support them with their first experiences of the workplace.
Register for your free tickets at the Queer Student Awards website.
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