In the fourth instalment of Noah Kennell’s blog on his experience in applying for an apprenticeship at Atkins as a transgender man, he discusses how his first day went.
September 1st 2015 – the lift doors opened revealing a large, bright, open-plan office. I stepped out. A nervous knot had tied itself in my stomach.
Do I pass enough? Should I have worn a tie? Is the haircut professional enough? Which toilets am I to use?
“Ah Noah, come meet the other apprentice in project controls in London” a voice calls from my right. I turn. It was one of the men at my interview. He waved me over. As I walk over my apprehension rises.
Oh no….they saw me trying to be female. What do I do?
The young man raised up from his chair and shook my hand vigorously. I return the handshake worrying about the appropriate tightness. (There’s a lot of differences to consider – I even had to learn to walk as a man. True story.)
We settled at our desks and my new manager ran through typical hours, how things worked, where the kitchen on the floor was (free and unlimited tea – that was me sorted) and set us onto our mandatory health and safety training video. As I watched a person lift a box from their knees not their back, my manager called me over and informs me I was having a meeting.
He directed me into a room with a lady. My heart started to pound. Am I in trouble? I couldn’t see how…
The lady explained the meeting was held to help me with the day to day of the job and more specifically to support me through my medical transition. The nervous knot in the pit of my stomach was beginning to untangle.
She explained the other three apprentices I would be working closely with had been given a leaflet and handed it to me. I was told to use the male toilets and both my manager and the lady wanted to know more about the timescales of my doctor appointments and the impact these would have on my day to day schedule.
After a long discussion about my medical transition, she informed me I was to have a meeting with her every few weeks to discuss what was happening. Once the meeting had been concluded there was a lot more handshaking and I returned back to my desk.
The rest I remember from my first day was a lot of training videos, a lot of tea and no staring from anyone. Things could only go up.
To read about the Application process for Noah, please click here.
To read 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 the future for Noah, please click here.