Youth Projects has been announced as a finalist for the 'Workplace Inclusion' award as part of GLOBE Victoria's 2022 Victorian Pride Awards, recognising Victorian businesses who champion equity for LGBTIA+ people in the workplace. 
Youth Projects prides itself on employing people that identify as having lived (or living) experience in the fields in which we work. Almost 30% of our workforce identify as LGBTQIA+, and over 80% of our workforce identify as someone with living (or lived) experience of poor mental health, discrimination, family issues, domestic violence, AOD dependency, or homelessness. 
Over the past 18 months, Youth Projects has focussed strengthening our culture and workplace environment to be more inclusive and equitable for LGBTQIA+ people – those who are employed by our organisation, and those who are engaged in our programs.
This has seen a range of campaigns, initiatives and education programs led by Youth Projects' Diversity and Inclusion Committee and People & Culture teams to create spaces that are safe, inclusive and affirming of LGBTQIA+ people. We understand that by creating this culture within the organisation, we become enabled to build and develop authentic and targeted programs which will further support service users that identify as LGBTQIA+. 
During this time, we've achieved a great deal of progress in workplace inclusion, including: 
  • Launching a Workplace Awareness program to strengthen our culture and workplace environment to be more inclusive and equitable for LGBTQIA+ people
  • Reviewed and updated our policies through a LGBTQIA+ lens to remove gender-specificity, and to ensure equitable access to all services.
  • Launched a new Paid Caregiver Leave policy to enable all people to access caregivers leave (regardless of gender, birthing, or mode of pregnancy)
  • Developed and delivered LGBTQI+ Inclusive Language Training to create a better understanding of the key concepts and common terms for LGBTQIA+ people + practical guidance on making inclusive language part of our daily life
  • Achieved the Victorian state government's Rainbow Ready Certification
  • Independent certification as a 'Great Place to Work' (with 96% of our workforce felt they were treated fairly, regardless of their sexual orientation)
  • The opening of our newest social enterprise cafe at the Victorian Pride Centre to create a safe, inclusive, and social space for the rainbow and wider community to gather, collaborate and drive real change for the community.
  • Teamed up with The Mental Health Coach to deliver a specially designed, cost-free LGBTQIA+ specific Mental Health First Aid training program
  • Participation in a range of public events to further nurture, celebrate and promote an inclusive culture and workplace environment. 
As an organisation, Youth Projects embraces and celebrates all our workforce, fostering an environment where all employees and our clients can bring their true selves, every day. We understand the intersectional nature of our workplace and the impact that privilege plays on access and equity, and are firm believers of “you can’t be what we can’t see”. As we apply this to all areas of our organisation, workforce and service delivery methodologies we can create a truly inclusive and safe environment for all people.  
Congratulations also goes to our fellow finalists in the 'Workplace Inclusion' category - City of Port Phillip and the Department of Transport!
Globe Victoria's Victorian Pride Awards highlight the work of a diverse range of organisations and individuals that benefit and unite our communities. Winners of the 2022 Victorian Pride Awards will be announced on Friday 3 February in Melbourne with tickets still available.
For more information, please visit the official Victoria Pride Awards website.