A quarter of people living with HIV in the UK are unemployed. The THT Work Positive Programme, funded by Barclays Spectrum, supports individuals in taking positive steps back into the work-force, offering up to 6 months’ voluntary work-experience, developing and renewing skills for today’s workplace, developing confidence and overcoming personal barriers to employment.

In 2017, The Barclays Early Careers team began a partnership with THT Work+ as there was a clear synergy in our objectives.  Barclays Apprenticeships are career opportunities specifically designed to impact the hardest to reach individuals and those that might not necessarily believe they have the skills or experience to join the Bank.  Our Early Careers opportunities do not ask for qualification or experience, purely the motivation and drive and grow and develop in a forward-thinking organisation.

This wasn’t just another recruitment drive.  This was an opportunity to support THT Work+ clients in building confidence, understanding how the work-place has evolved, recognising and embracing former skills and behaviours and demonstrating the reality that companies such as Barclays are passionate about helping people achieve their ambitions in the right way

Over the last 2 years, Barclays has successfully run Life-Skills training with more than 40 Work Positive clients, all of whom bring different levels of experience and different aspirations for the future. Part of our support includes the opportunity to connect clients with Barclays mentors, particularly mentors who have themselves had to overcome significant challenges and hurdles in life, and to date we have mentored 23 clients. For many we continue to explore pathways to Apprenticeships and careers, not just with Barclays but across multiple sectors.

This year, we have delivered the same initial training to 13 THT clients with the opportunity to a follow-up assessment for Barclays ‘Able to Enable’ Higher Apprentices (across London & Manchester).  These opportunities offer an initial 3-month internship potentially leading to the offer of a fully funded degree in Leadership & Management, Higher Apprenticeship.

One particular case study involves a client who attended our Foundation Apprentice Recruitment event in London and, whilst she did incredibly well, the experience has led her to wanting a career in counselling.  Another example is a client who attended our Higher Apprentice Assessments in 2017 and the experience gave him the confidence to feel ready to return to the workforce, and he has since secured employment in another sector.

Helping Terrence Higgins Trust and its commitment to supporting HIV+ clients back into the workplace is something Barclays is incredibly passionate about.  Whether it is securing a career in Barclays, helping build confidence and resilience, or as simple as giving the time to listen, support and advise, this relationship is going from strength to strength.