Atkins dispelling myths: Noah Kennell’s story on transgender

In the first of Noah’s blogs about his experience as a transgender applicant to Atkins’ Project Management Apprentice, he discusses The Application.

The year was 2015 – about April time. I was 18, I’d just been let go from the Navy training for medical reasons and I was washing pots. Pots, pans and plates piled the walls and, I – the human dishwasher, was thinking about my career.

Do I want to stay in catering? Do I want to own a business? Where do I want to be when I’m 30?

After I had dried the last of the pans and switched off the light to the kitchen, I chose to take the first step into a career. I was then officially job hunting. The task of updating my CV, searching through search engine after search engine and then filling in applications wasn’t going to be easy. Especially as I was apprehensive about my transgender identity.

Banking apprentices, media traineeships, designing interns my head was beginning to spin as I sifted through the list trying to navigate the alternative options to university. As I scrolled through a list of jobs on a website, one job stuck out. I clicked on it. A project manager apprentice….for an engineering firm, Atkins. Without hesitation I clicked ‘Send CV’.

I then chose to apply for a few other firms for good measure. I ignored the niggle inside that had been triggered – after all, when you’re in you can change it from the inside. Even though I’d been asked about my name, gender and asked the standard Diversity and Inclusion questions, I was still wary. Wary about being both me and employable.

I knew, if I didn’t hear back from the firms, I had at least been accepted into Aston University to study engineering. University had always been a backup. Not one I was suited for.

It was early May and I was in the kitchen worrying about whether or not the meringues were cooking (on a side note – 3 to 4 hours is best on a slow heat) and my phone was buzzing. ‘Unknown Number’. I switch it off as I was at work and didn’t want to be in any more trouble if the meringues were eggy messes. My phone buzzed again to inform me I have a voicemail. This flicked excitement – is it possibly for a new job?

Once my shift was complete I raced home and listened to the message. A lady’s voice advises I call her about an application I’d made. I dial the number. I hold my breath. She picks up. ‘Hi is that Miss Kennell?’ My heart pounds.

Do I tell her I’m transgender? Do I correct her now? Do I wait? I panicked. ‘Yes it is, how may I help you?’

To read the next part about Noah’s Interview experience, please click here.

To read about Noah’s experience of disclosing his transgender identity, please click here. 

To read about Noah’s first day at Atkins, please click here. 

To read about the future for Noah, please click here.

Are you interested in a career with Atkins? Please click here.

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Noah Kennell, Atkins

Atkins is one of the world’s most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies. We build long-term trusted partnerships to create a world where lives are enriched through the implementation of our ideas.

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