My name is Luke and I have now been with Enterprise as a Management Trainee at the Salisbury branch for a few months.
Throughout my school life I was always teased and bullied; being called gay amongst a cluster of other names. I moved schools three times between GCSEs and A-levels and never really settled into any of them. I felt alienated most of the time and what probably didn’t help was that all the schools I went to were grammar schools for boys. Throughout school life, I never felt it was safe for me to stand up for myself and accept that I was gay. In terms of my dyslexia, this wasn’t properly diagnosed until after I sat my A-levels. The grammar schools I went to denied I could be dyslexic as I always performed quite well.
After completing my A-Levels I went to Bournemouth University to study for a BSc in Forensic Science. I then went on to complete an MSc in Forensic Toxicology by Research. I received great support with my dyslexia at university, however, I was still scared of accepting myself as being gay – up until two years ago. Throughout my A-levels and university life, I worked at Waitrose. The people I worked with really helped me overcome my fear of telling people that I was gay and the amount of support I received was pretty overwhelming at the time. Since coming out I have been in a relationship and no longer feel a need to hide who I am.
Last year I reconnected with a friend who had recently completed her internship at Enterprise. After conversing about what Enterprise is about and how fast the career progression was, I wanted to find out more and took to the website and applied. Within a day of sending my application, I received a telephone interview and was asked to go to a branch interview. What stood out the most at this stage was how – right from the beginning of the interview process – I was made to feel comfortable about who I am as an individual.
For the branch interview, I met with the Branch Manager and Area Manager. At first, I thought it was going to be intimidating, but it was actually the complete opposite. The interview environment was really chilled out and as an interviewee it made me feel very calm and comfortable. In the interview, I mentioned that I was gay as well as having dyslexia and I can confidently say that neither had any negative influence on my application whatsoever. I felt it was embraced and worked to my advantage, as I was open and honest about who I am – I knew that this is one of Enterprise’s core values.
The next day I attended a brilliantly coordinated assessment day at the local head office in Winchester and met with other senior leaders in the business as well as made valuable connections with other candidates.
At the assessment day, one of the tasks we had to complete as a team was around the subject of diversity and how Enterprise works alongside a range of different charities. This task made all of us at the assessment day feel more confident in ourselves. I felt really accepted for who I am. Even better, the next day I received a phone call with a job offer. This highlighted to me the fact that Enterprise is not judgmental of who I am.
So where does that take me now? I have been with Enterprise for a handful of months now and I’ve just finished the second stage of my training. The aspects I particularly enjoy about the role include: how every day is different and poses new challenges, how much development support is provided by management, the opportunities that are available to get involved in events outside of the branch and the fantastic people I get to work with.
My ambition for the future is to climb up the management ladder as quickly as possible. The end goal is to become a Branch Manager or to develop my career further within the HR department. It won’t be easy, but my Branch Manager and Area Manager are extremely supportive with both my career development as well as any personal issues I might have. Thanks to this supportive environment and the unique promote-from-within culture I’m sure I will reach the goals I’ve set for myself and my career within Enterprise.