Story 9 - Blog

Jasmine's Story

Jasmine joined Look Ahead nine years ago as an Assistant Support Worker in a young people’s service. She developed her career with us and became Contract Manager at our assessment centre in Islington. Jasmine now lends her extensive experience to our Business Development team, and is the joint chair of our LGBTQ+ staff network.

I started working for Look Ahead in 2014 as an Assistant Support Worker at Gateway Foyer and gradually progressed to Support Worker, Specialist Support Worker, Team Leader and then Contract Manager for Islington Young People’s Assessment Centre. I left in 2021 when I moved to Devon.

Like quite a lot of people do, I re-joined again last year when I saw a remote role advertised in the Business Development Team. I love my job which involves working on bids to retain our current services and win new business. Having worked in operations for so long my experience really helps us develop bids for services that can deliver a really good quality of support to our customers.

Alongside my day job I’m pleased to be the joint chair of the LGBTQ+ network. It is one of four networks that Look Ahead has. We work with the other networks to help make Look Ahead a move inclusive organisation.

We collaborate on ideas and feedback suggestions on how to make Look Ahead a more LGBTQ+ friendly place to work, ensuring that LGBTQ+ inclusion is embedded across the entire organisation.  This involves developing training, resources, reviewing/creating policies promoting days of importance such as Pride.

The LGBTQ+ Network provides a safe and confidential space for LGBTQ+ employees to network, support each other, express concerns they may have and spend time around colleagues who understand their experiences. To me, employee networks are important because prior to 2003 there were no laws to stop employers from dismissing employees because of their sexuality or gender identity. Statistics suggest that around 35% of LGBTQ+ people still choose to hide their sexuality at work. At Look Ahead we want everyone to feel comfortable to bring their whole self to work. Reports suggest that there is a 25% increase in productivity when staff feel comfortable to be open about their sexuality in the workplace.

I hope that we can continue to grow the Network and gain momentum to make sustained cultural change gaining acknowledgement and accreditation from LGBTQ advocacy groups.