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Training: HIV Infection

Volume 491: debated on Monday 20 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what programmes his Department is funding to assist people with (a) HIV and (b) other long-term conditions back to work; and whether staff running those programmes receive HIV-specific training. (264183)

Jobcentre Plus is committed to supporting people with a disability or health condition, including those with HIV and other long-term conditions to find suitable, sustainable employment. It does this through its personal advisers, including disability employment advisers, and a variety of programmes and services aimed at supporting customers with disabilities and health conditions.

Jobcentre Plus works with a range of providers from the private, public and voluntary sectors to provide specialist disability programmes to help people with a disability or health condition, including HIV, to overcome the labour market barriers they may face. These programmes include Work Preparation, Workstep (a programme of supported employment), New Deal for Disabled People and residential training. Disability employment advisers also have access to work psychologists to assist them in supporting customers if appropriate.

For customers claiming benefits due to illness or disability the Pathways to Work programme helps move them into or nearer to work. Pathways to Work offers, among other things, a series of interviews with a personal adviser and training programmes to increase skills, confidence or help to manage a health condition.

People who are in work or due to start work and need support can claim help from Access to Work. Access to Work can provide practical advice and support to the disabled person and their employer to help them overcome work related obstacles resulting from disability. All Access to Work support is tailored to the individual’s needs.

From Autumn 2010 the new specialist disability programme will replace the existing Workstep and work preparation programmes and will be designed as a single streamlined and flexible programme based on effective needs assessment and creation of tailored packages of appropriate support.

There is a comprehensive programme of learning designed to equip Jobcentre Plus advisers with the full range of knowledge and skills required to support all customers. This learning routeway provides the adviser with the key knowledge and skills to interview customers and enable them to work effectively with customers with disabilities or health conditions. Part of the training is a “Disability Confident” course which explains various disabilities and health conditions, including HIV and other long term conditions, and what would be considered reasonable adjustment by employers.