Paid internships for trans persons on the increase

To translate these opportunities into jobs more ground needs to be covered

Updated - July 26, 2023 10:42 am IST

Published - July 26, 2023 10:17 am IST

There is a sense that paid corporate internships are opening up for trans persons. There is also a sense that these internships often end up as just internships, not progressing to employment with that company.

There are heartening stories. Jyan Sharma’s is one of them. A trans person, Jyan joined Publicis Sapient as an intern under its eight-month Rainbow internship programme, and has continued with it as a full-time junior associate in agile program management. From his own account, Jyan is thriving in his job.

But there could be more such stories.

Shaman Gupta, chief executive officer, Tweet Foundation, an organisation working with trans persons, says the absorption rate of trans candidates from such internship programmes is generally low.

Among reasons attributed to this situation are: Overall vacancies in the company being low, and two, the trans person encountering bias and therefore seeking employment elsewhere.

Shaman reveals a good number of trans candidates the Tweet Foundation has worked with have moved from one internship to another without finding employment. New employees from the trans community need considerable hand-holding to feel at home in a company. The same is true of interns from the community.

Publicis Sapient trains and mentors trans persons for eight to 10 months with extensive help from its internal business resource groups (BRGs).

Godrej Industries has a system of continual feedback and mentoring aimed at enabling trans persons interning with it to graduate to full-time roles within the company.

Upskilling is a factor improving the absorption rate, often dramatically.

In a LinkedIn post, Neelam Jain, founder, PeriFerry, which helps trans persons find jobs, notes that out of “230 trans persons upskilled in the last two years by PeriFerry, more than 190 have joined over 45 organisations.”

A communication from Publicis Sapient observes that a majority of trans persons joining its internship programme have trouble communicating in English.

Corporates can address these skill gaps working shoulder to shoulder with organisations that work for the welfare of trans persons.

“When Tweet Foundation works closely with a corporate to structure these job readiness programmes we insist the duration of the internship be at least six months,” says Shaman.

Beyond skills

Getting the workforce to develop an inclusive attitude towards trans persons, establishing gender-neutral washrooms, having a gender-neutral PoSH policy and offering mental health support are among factors that can make trans persons feel at home in a company.

At Publicis Sapient, BRGs ensure the interns find accommodation in the internal LGBTQI+ community and offer them the comfort of a one-on-one interaction or regular calls.

Recently, in a LinkedIn post, Megha Goel, chief human resources officer at Godrej Properties Limited (GPL), announced a policy favouring provision of accommodation to employees who identify themselves as trans persons. The post reaches out to homeowners across major cities to register on a link if they are open to renting their homes to these GPL employees.

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