Metro and Yarra Trams celebrate every colour of the rainbow for Wear It Purple Day

Metro and Yarra Trams celebrate every colour of the rainbow for Wear It Purple Day

28 Aug 2023, Ruby MacKinnon

On Friday 25 August, LGBTQIA+ youth and allies united in record numbers across Australia to celebrate ‘Wear It Purple Day.’

By wearing purple, Australians demonstrated to rainbow young people that they are seen, supported and respected, recognising all have the right to be proud of who they are and who they are becoming.

This year, Metro Trains and Keolis Downer (the operator of Yarra Trams) partnered up to celebrate with a group of young LGBTQIA+ high school students interested in the rail industry.

Students had the opportunity to visit the Metro Academy in South Kensington where they learnt about the industry and what a career in rail would look like and had a go in the X’Trapolis training simulator.

Authorised Officer Tania Kukielka had worked in many different industries before starting at Metro almost three years ago. Her wife, who is a Protective Services Officer, recommended she apply.

Tania wanted to join the Authorised Officers team because she enjoyed being in customer service roles and helping people.

Tania said that Metro made her feel really welcome when she joined, and that her boss and colleagues had been hugely supportive of her.

The rail industry in Melbourne has been experiencing a huge culture shift in recent years, with a much more diverse and inclusive workforce joining Metro’s and Keolis Downer’s ranks.

In 2009, there were just 26 women driving trains for Metro, and now there are more than 550 that are either Metro qualified or in the process of training to be qualified.

Yarra Trams has more than tripled the number of female tram drivers over the last ten years, partly driven by the introduction of part-time driving roles in 2020, an industry-first.

As WORK180 accredited organisations, both Metro Trains and Yarra Trams are committed to raising workplace standards for women and gender-diverse people across the network.

WORK180 is a global jobs network that provides women and gender-diverse people with an easy way of identifying workplaces they can trust, reaching more than 9 million people worldwide.

Tania said that it’s important that people can see themselves in the roles that we do in public transport and the community is reflected back at them and celebrated.

Tania said that she feels proud to work for a company that is working hard to achieve this.

Growing up in a conservative family, Tania wasn’t able to learn about her identity until much later in life.

She is thrilled to see LGBTIQA+ people celebrated through Wear it Purple Day to show young people that they are not alone, and that they are amazing just as they are.Tania said that LGBTIQA+ people will be welcomed with open arms to the industry, and she is so excited to see the culture of the industry continue to shift for the better.

To celebrate diversity and inclusion on the public transport system, Keolis Downer has rolled out the #AllAboard Pride Tram, which serves as a highlight in the annual Midsumma Pride March through St Kilda where it is cheered on by thousands of onlookers. The current tram was designed and voted on by Melbourne’s Rainbow Communities.

Tania Kukielka (right) and her wife Melissa.
Tania Kukielka (right) and her wife Melissa.
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