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77 past participants on the Work Positive programme have found paid work, either full-time or part-time, at a variety of different organisations such as ViiV, BBC, NAZ, Metro, PositivelyUK, Terrence Higgins Trust and the Treasury.

Each year over 90% of participants tell us they’re more confident in their employability after graduating from the programme.

Daniel

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Daniel has been living with HIV for 20 years and has been unemployed for 17 after having a variety of jobs. His health had deteriorated significantly. He had a stroke and then contracted pneumonia in 2012. 

Daniel was really worried about the large gap in his employment history now that he feels able to return to work.

Why did you want to take part in the Back to Work programme?

Having been unemployed for 17 years and HIV positive for 20, I felt I needed help and advice on how to get back into the workplace. As Terrence Higgins Trust is a charity helping those living with HIV, the Back to Work programme seemed an appropriate and helpful start.

What did the charity do for you?

It has given me something to focus on, improved my confidence within a working environment and helped me to improve my computer skills.

What do you think might have happened had you not taken part in the programme?

I think I would definitely be in the same position as I was before coming to Terrence Higgins Trust – no job and no future prospects of finding employment.

How has your life changed as a result of the Back to Work programme?

Definitely my confidence. Close friends have noticed that since I have been with the charity I am a totally different person. I am more confident and more positively focused on getting back into the workplace.

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We encourage anyone with HIV who feels they need a boost onto the career ladder to get in touch.

Rachel

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Rachel was a secondary school teacher in her home country. She moved to London in 2006 to study accounting and finance.

After completing her undergraduate degree, she attended a number of interviews but hadn’t been offered a job. She was caught in a catch-22 where she was unable to secure a lower-skilled job because of her degree, but if she omitted it from her application, there was a huge gap.

Rachel lost confidence in herself, attributing her lack of success to her personality and was on the verge of depression. She felt she was stuck with a qualification she couldn't use and began to see it as a major barrier to work as she had never struggled to get a job before her degree.

Why did you want to take part in the Back to Work programme?

I saw the programme advertised on the website and I knew I had to get myself onto the programme as I felt that it held the key to the future of my career and it would be a good place to start.

What did the charity do for you?

The charity helped me to overcome most of the barriers that I had faced in my search for a job. I had an opportunity to gain work experience which was related to my degree, which gave me the confidence to apply for jobs that I would never have dreamed of applying for before. Having been away from work for a few years, it was also an excellent opportunity for me to prepare myself for the work environment.

Being in a team where my contributions were valued and in an environment where I wasn't stigmatised because of my HIV gave me a sense of belonging and self-worth and was also very therapeutic. I developed my skills and regained the confidence that I had lost as a result of the rejections that I kept getting. 

In addition to getting moral support, I also got a lot of support with my CV, job applications and interview techniques.

I also had a chance to reorganise myself, better manage my time as a working mum – particularly in the mornings – and prove that I am punctual, reliable and committed to my work.

Above all, Terrence Higgins Trust gave me new friends who I can relate to and talk openly to about my condition. 

What do you think might have happened had you not taken part in the programme?

I probably would have ended up working in a dead-end job which didn't utilise my qualifications, experience and skills. I would most likely be in a very poor mental state as well as in poor physical health with no motivation to get up for work every morning.

How has your life changed as a result of the Back to Work Programme?

According to my 14-year-old daughter, my eyes are brighter now and I am a happier person. I also believe that I am in a better frame of mind as I have fewer worries. 

I am also sleeping a lot better as I have peace of mind and fewer financial worries. I have a job that I enjoy doing even though it's temporary and I am motivated to go to work in the morning. I am definitely looking forward to the future now.