Why achieving true diversity matters
At the ITP, we want to share real stories from our current and existing apprentices. Their journey's, experiences, background and insights matter; they are the voices that will help to inspire others.
We spoke with Anisha Anthony, one of our Apprentices at Vorboss, discussing how she embraces and celebrates the diversity and inclusion within the workforce.
1. Firstly, can you tell me a bit about you? What apprenticeship are you currently studying or did you study?
I am currently part of the Level 3 Information Communication Technician Apprenticeship Programme.
2. Can you share your journey and how you became an apprentice?
A recruitment agency contacted me upon seeing my CV online. I learnt about a company called Vorboss. One thing I loved most about getting to know the company was the assessment day. We were told all about the apprenticeship and other opportunities through the company and were able to get a feel of it, having a full day at the office.
3. What motivated you to pursue this apprenticeship, and did you face any specific challenges along the way?
All my previous qualifications were in the field of Art. Changing careers prior to this job was extremely difficult so I thought the apprenticeship would be a great way to broaden my capabilities and accomplishments. I remember when dial-up was groundbreaking technology so learning something new and evolved was and still is challenging.
4. Do you feel your background and experiences contribute to the diversity of your workplace? And if so, how?
I’m neurodivergent, part of the LGBTQ+ community and of mixed heritage. My father is Muslim and my mother is Christian. I would say all these experiences have given me a non biased opinion on a lot of things that perhaps wouldn’t have if I hadn’t had the kind of lived experiences that shaped who I am. These reasons alone imply that I tick a lot of ‘other’ boxes which allow me to connect with so many different types of people and hopefully that alone brings some unity to the diverse groups we have at Vorboss
5. How important is diversity to you personally and/or professionally?
Being around people who have a shared lived experience builds a sort of connection that cannot otherwise be fabricated. That’s why diversity amongst the workforce should be held to such importance.
6. From your perspective, how has the workplace embraced inclusivity, making you feel welcomed and valued?
The hiring of such diverse groups of people within the company is so diverse that I have learnt so much about groups of people I probably wouldn’t be around. This combats stereotypes and creates positivity around groups of people that may have previously been marginalised
7. Can you share any specific instances where you felt the workplace actively promoted inclusion?
For Pride month, Vorboss spray painted some of their chamber lids with the LGBT flag colours stating ‘Happy Pride’. I was part of the team that placed those lids out near the parade route. I was also part of the videography in front of the camera
8. How does your organisation ensure that all employees, regardless of background, have access to the same opportunities?
There is a support system in place where you can express what avenues you’d like to take in order to gain skills and knowledge across departments. Each individual has a Personal Support Lead that can guide your journey to reach certain goals
9. Why do you believe diversity, equity, and inclusion are crucial in the workplace, especially as an apprentice?
Some people need inspiration, guidance and mentors that can understand where that person is coming from in order to feel seen. Walking into an office that is filled with diverse groups of people will provide a sense of safety because you won’t feel like an outsider - you’d feel at home.
10. Have there been instances where the workplace accommodated and respected diverse cultural backgrounds?
Having a large Muslim community, Vorboss sought to change the working hours to fit in with Ramadan to accommodate those people. Although I, myself am not Muslim, it was lovely to see that a company would change the regular working hours in order to help that community in their religious tradition.
11. Can you recall any instances where your organisation celebrated and recognised the diversity within the workplace?
As mentioned previously, the pride lids was a lovely project to be involved with. Vorboss is going to make it an annual project moving forward which is also lovely to hear.
The adjustments that the company has made to accommodate female technicians such as period days, redesigned uniforms and a female panel for those that want to submit anonymous suggestions via the online hub, creates an environment where women feel supported, protected, safe and included. I think this is incredibly important.
12. Reflecting on your time as an apprentice, how do you think diversity and inclusion have influenced your personal and professional development?
Although I have a Muslim father, I was raised in the church. Working with a large Muslim community really gave me a new insight into their culture and beliefs which I hadn’t experienced before. I have a new found respect for their faith even if it differs from my own.
13. Has your perception of the importance of DEI evolved during your apprenticeship?
Yes and no. I would say that before starting this apprenticeship and being part of so many ‘other’ categories, I held my experience and knowledge quite proudly. On the other hand, I hadn’t worked with a lot of marginalised groups that I myself wasn’t a part of - until this apprenticeship. Through this new experience, I have become more mindful and open to learning
14. How do you envision a more inclusive workplace for future apprentices?
The world is always changing. If people are encouraged to broaden their knowledge of the world and the people around us without judgement, it will bring a better understanding of all groups and dismantle harmful stereotypes. Ways to enlighten people within the business could be done on many ways - through meetings, talks and meaningful short courses.
15. What advice would you give others who want to embark on a career in this industry?
Starting as an apprentice would be a great way to break into a new field of work. Traineeships or junior programs would also be a great way in. As long as you have ambition, drive and the confidence to learn on the job; support will always be there.