Assistant Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

January 23, 2020

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SHP Rising Stars

‘LGBTQ+ staff can speak to me as an equal and know I understand exactly how they feel’: In conversation with Molly Gill, SHP’S Rising Star Wellbeing winner

Molly Gill was announced winner of the Rising Star Wellbeing Award at Safety & Health Expo in June 2019. SHP caught up with Molly ahead of the two-day training coming up in January 2020 for all Rising Star winners, to ask her about how her achievements and staff inclusivity in the workplace.

SHP’s Rising Star Wellbeing Award is open to anyone under 30 years old, and has proven to give the best example of improving worker wellbeing. Molly Gill is trainee Health & Safety Officer at Leeds City College.

Molly Gill

Congratulations on winning the Rising Star Wellbeing Award Molly, can you describe what your current role involves? ​

Molly Gill (MG): “I am currently a trainee Health & Safety Officer within the education sector working for Leeds City College. Currently my role involves shadowing our other Health and Safety officers and helping out with the day to day running of the Health and Safety of all of our campuses. I meet with staff regarding risk assessments and DSE assessments and help them to the best of my ability.”

What is the best part of your role? ​

(MG): “The best part of my role is ensuring the staff and students are safe within the workplace and know to contact myself if they ever need any assistance with Health and Safety queries”.

What is the biggest challenge in your role?

(MG): “Currently the biggest challenge within my role is learning all the new information regarding Health and Safety with me being a trainee I am currently working full time whilst also studying for my NEBOSH qualifications.”

What challenges do LGBTQ+ staff face and what changes do you want to see towards those challenges?

(MG): “​​I do not find our LGBTQ+ staff face many challenges within Leeds City College as we are a very inclusive and diverse working team. I think the only difficulty they find is expressing themselves in a way they feel comfortable as they find that in previous jobs other people may not be accepting of them, but in fact everyone is very accepting here. I myself am ​part of the LGBTQ+ staff members here at LCC, and I find this helps as LGBTQ+ staff can speak to me as an equal and know I understand exactly how they may be feeling.”

How do you think winning SHP’s Rising Star Wellbeing Award will help you resolve some of the issues that LGBTQ+ staff face in terms of wellbeing at Leeds City College?

(MG): “I think it will help me resolve more issues as I have been recognised for my work regarding wellbeing of our staff members, and other people may come forward and speak to myself regarding their wellbeing. Even if they are not part of the LGBTQ+ community I still would like staff to approach me as I want to be able to help anyone regardless of their sexual orientation, their gender identity, their age or disabilities.”

Any final comments?

(MG): “I would just like to thank SHP for picking me as their Rising Star for wellbeing 2019.”

Finding gaps in diversity

It was Molly’s approach to finding gaps in diversity and finding solutions, turned the judges’ heads. Molly developed the idea of having a dedicated point of contact in wellbeing issues for LGBTQ+ staff members. After attended the companies EDI working group and speaking to staff there, Molly realised that there were barriers in place for LGBTQ+ staff that the current way of working did not address and is creating a positive dialogue by using training by agencies and sign posting staff to the correct places.

As a Trainee Health & Safety Officer at Leeds City College, Molly’s work priority is the wellbeing of other staff members. Judges stated that “she looked at diversity and identified issues with inclusion of the LGBTQ+ staff, then upskilled herself and managers to resolve this”.

She introduced having a consultant for LGBTQ+ staff members, where their wellbeing issues can be heard.

Judge applauded her for “focusing more on a specific  group, that still suffers with huge amount of discrimination”, they said “it is an agenda that needs raising because it is an area that is untapped”.

They believed that when people talk about diversity, they often talk about gender or pay gaps, so for Molly to think against the norm, grabbed their attention.

To find out about the winners in the other categories, click here.

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