The newly launched Rainbow WISE employment program from the team at WISE Employment is making a real-world difference in the lives of LGBTQIA+ community members who are living with a disability, injury or illness.
Skylar, a transgender woman who identifies as she/her, was the first person to go through the Rainbow WISE program and has loved the experience, not only getting the job that she applied for but making such an impression on her prospective employer, that they contacted Rainbow WISE to make sure they were the ones that were going to get Skylar!
Skylar talks about the experience of working with Rainbow WISE and how they helped her to negotiate the daunting process of applying for jobs in this technologically driven and sometimes unfriendly world.
“I first heard about the Rainbow WISE program because I started as a regular WISE Employment customer and then they brought Rainbow WISE out and I was there first!”
When asked what it was like to work with Rainbow WISE while they were helping her get the job, she said, “It was amazing! It was great to be able to get the job and I would say that they were very helpful in getting me the job, they helped me with my resume and they also helped me organise the interview.”
When asked about one of the challenges she faced seeking employment before she started working with the WISE team, Skylar replied, “The challenge for me was not having the knowledge about the role going into the interview and also not always having the right language to use for the application. They really helped me out with that a lot.”
Skylar also talked about the relief of her employer already knowing her unique situation, not only being a trans woman but also with her disability.
“It is a relief not to have to explain my situation because they already know my story. WISE Employment has been very helpful to me, they’ve really helped me out with getting this job. I like working as part of a team.”
Rainbow WISE’s Diversity Employment Consultant, Izzy Calero, was the second staff member to join the team to help Jake McDonald get the Rainbow WISE program going, and says, “At Rainbow WISE, we’re the voice for those who are underrepresented. We’re celebrated for the work we do with some of the most marginalised people in our community and we believe everyone – irrespective of background, disability and sexual orientation – has the right to feel included and safe.”
“Rainbow WISE is a targeted program working with the LGBTQIA+ community and is unique because it’s proudly run by people of that very same community. With a focus on supporting customers living with a disability, injury or illness, we simultaneously educate employers on the benefits of an inclusive workplace.
“Many organisations may have diversity but not inclusion. Inclusion is the capacity for the diverse staff to feel safe, respected, heard and championed to contribute towards their workplace’s success.”
Skylar has been with her new employer for over a month now and works as an office assistant, keeping areas tidy, managing deliveries and helping to distribute packages, among other duties. And while she is currently working three days a week, is actively seeking out extra hours and building confidence when interacting with new people.
Rainbow WISE’s Diversity Employment Consultant, Jake McDonald, who worked hard to get this vital program operational, says, “Skylar was the very first person to join Rainbow WISE and was also the first to find employment through our program. And while she was already an existing WISE Customer, it wasn’t until she joined the Rainbow family that she truly lit up. It was clear how joyful, welcomed and accepted she felt, and that showed through a newfound motivation to find sustainable work.”
Skylar has made such an impression at her new workplace that she was even recently acknowledged by the CEO, which has been a huge highlight for Skylar so far.
“Rainbow WISE is all about not hiding behind who you think you have to be. It’s about giving you the confidence to be yourself and feel empowered. Skylar now knows she can go to work every day and be exactly who she is, without hesitation,” Jake said“We want Rainbow WISE customers to go to work, be proud of who they are and what they do within their inclusive workplace.”
Rainbow WISE is currently offered at WISE Employment Inner Sydney offices including Chatswood, Darlinghurst and Marrickville.
WISE Employment has been operating as a not-for-profit employment agency for people with a disability since 1992. WISE provides cost-free advice, training and support to transition more than 12,000 job seekers from all backgrounds into meaningful employment and support services annually.
With offices in most states, WISE Employment also works closely with prospective employers to assist with wage incentives and understanding their specific employment needs.