Kira Paul was recruited via the Kickstart scheme in April 2021 to work in an administrative role in the Quality, Student Support and Learning Resources team at West Lothian College.
We knew before they started that Kira would be our first employee who openly identified as using gender neutral personal pronouns.
Right from the get-go, Kira was active in helping the college move forward with our efforts to be “Welcoming to all”. They quickly helped us get up to speed with many things like how to address them (bearing with us as we adapted to this) and starting to identify our preferred personal pronouns in email signatures.
As well as working on a range of administrative projects to support the team, they played an active role in the group set up with the Student Association looking at re-establishing our LGBTI+ student society, the Phoenix Club. While we’d had such a club in the past, activity had fallen away during lockdown.
Kira also worked alongside the Student Association to create a video for the West Lothian Pride event on 31st July 2021, which has helped us develop closer links with this important partner organisation. They also created a set of posters showing the flags representing the different LGBTI+ groups. These will be displayed in the new Student Association office which has recently been created in the main college building.
More recently, Kira has been helping us review our accreditation with LGBT+ Scotland as we start to consider our application for the Gold level award this year.
They wanted to pass on this message: “To all of my fellow trans/non-binary/genderfluid/non-cis people, there are places out there that will accept you for who you are, they are out there. You deserve to thrive and flourish and just be happy. You deserve to be happy, and there are people out there that will help you shine. Don't lose hope.”
We’re delighted to have Kira as part of the team at West Lothian College and the Kickstart scheme has given us a valuable addition to the team, already creating a lasting and meaningful impact for all.