When 21 year-old Sam, from Canterbury, arrived at PeoplePlus in April 2013 he was facing issues such as homelessness, family difficulties with his partner and young child all whilst trying to cope with becoming who he felt he really was: a female transitioning to become a male.
“With my current gender reassignment situation, Emma sat with me for hours and broadened her horizons which broadened mine,” said Sam.
Finding a role that would allow Sam to fully be himself and that also provided personal and professional development became the goal for Job Coach Emma Tilbrook. She recognised he would need something that matched his personality while also helping with his transition.
As part of his hormone therapy Sam wanted to really start building his upper body strength. Unfortunately, his financial limitations prevented him from getting a gym membership.
“One day I mentioned that we should get him a job in construction,” said Emma. “It was a bit out there and he was quite sceptical about integrating into a masculine environment but what better way to get a free daily workout and perhaps learn a bit for his transition?”
Through one-to-one coaching, pre-employment training courses to build his confidence and some tough conversations on keeping focused and moving forward, Sam was placed into a professional groundsman role in October 2014.
Throughout the application and job start process, Sam was always referred to as just ‘Sam’. He fit in well with the team and the hiring manager was thrilled with his enthusiasm and work ethic.
“Without going to PeoplePlus and meeting Emma I would still be unemployed and looking for jobs that I would not enjoy nor feel socially accepted in,” said Sam. Finding a supportive team and environment for Sam has been a rewarding experience for Emma.
“When Sam joined the company they had absolutely no clue about his gender reassignment,” Emma said, “they were really surprised as they saw him as just one of the guys. It’s really great to see him in a job that’s not only fulfilling but accepting.”