A PROGRAM supporting LGBTI students and staffers has won Bendigo Senior Secondary College an award.
The BSSC LGBTI Ally network was named the Pride Inclusion Initiative of the Year at this year's Victorian Public Sector Pride Awards.
More than 50 staff members have trained as allies since the program started in 2017.
Assistant principal Kylie Hand said the voluntary training heightened knowledge and sensitivity towards issues related to sexuality.
Mrs Hand said allies were safe people for LGBTI staff or students to go to for support.
She said more staffers were taking up the opportunity to do the training, with another 20 expected to become allies.
Training is provided by the Safe Schools unit and headspace Bendigo diversity staff.
Mrs Hand said the aim was to make the training available to all who were passionate about becoming allies.
"It's not something we would ever make compulsory," she said.
"It is a voluntary role within our staff."
Mrs Hand said the award acknowledged the work the college had been able to do was both valuable and worthwhile - something user experience had already reinforced.
"We've been fortunate enough to see firsthand the difference it can make to young LGBTI people," she said.
Mrs Hand said the program not only enabled people to identify a safe and trusted ally, but fostered a sense of belonging.
She said the award recognised both the progress made at BSSC and the support provided to other schools
"We find out school to be an incredibly inclusive environment for all members of our community," Mrs Hand said.
She said the Safe Schools unit had encouraged the BSSC to nominate for the award.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.