Terrence Higgins Trust extends employment scheme to support people with HIV back into the workplace
HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust has secured funding from the Big Lottery Fund (BLF) to extend its annual back to work scheme for people living with HIV in long-term unemployment.
The scheme, which was set up in 2011, has been relaunched under the banner Work Positive, with 25 work placements on offer in London and the south east. Placements are open to anyone living with HIV who has been unemployed for two years or more, or is receiving state benefits.
Participants will each be given a six-month work placement within the charity, supporting them to develop the skills and experience to get them back on their chosen career path. Alongside their placement, they will undertake an intensive programme of training, coaching and mentoring, with the aim of boosting their confidence and ensuring they are work-ready.
In the UK, around a quarter of people with HIV are currently unemployed. Thanks to modern drug treatments, many can return to work, but – if they have had a long period of ill health – they may lack confidence, or feel they no longer have the skills or stamina required to find a job in an increasingly competitive market.
Ruth Burns, Work Positive Coordinator from Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “Since 2011, our back to work scheme has been helping people living with HIV back into the workplace, but there’s so much more we want to do. This funding from the BLF means we can now offer work placements to more people and in more locations than ever before. Having regular employment gives a sense of purpose which can transform people’s lives, particularly if they’ve been feeling isolated or depressed. We’d encourage anyone living with HIV who is ready to get back on the career ladder to get in touch and find out more.”
Work Positive is open to anyone living with HIV who has been unemployed for two years or more or is receiving benefits. Placements have been confirmed in London, Bedford, Ipswich and Colchester, and Terrence Higgins Trust hopes to offer places at further locations across the country. The deadline for applications is Friday 15th August. People living with HIV can also access a wealth of careers advice, including online support from an advisor, by signing up to www.myhiv.org.uk.