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Tackling Discrimination & Worklessness

Gay men still face discrimination when finding jobs, according to the leader of a support group which helps gay and bisexual men in the Black Country to find work. Commenting on the issues and discrimination that gay and bisexual men face, Martin Hogg, who runs the Coaching for Employment project, said:

“It is a sad state of affairs that in today’s world gay men still face many issues when it comes to finding work. Not only do they have to contend with discrimination surrounding their sexuality, but they also have to face other barriers to employment such as being classed as disabled if they have contracted HIV.”

The Coaching for Employment project aims to tackle the multiple issues that gay and bisexual men face when deciding to return to work. Thirty-five men have passed through the project, which has been funded by a £10,000 community grant from the Learning and Skills Council’s and West Midlands Leaders Board’s European Social Fund programme.

After an initial assessment to determine in which areas the men need support, they are given a tailored programme to help with their interview technique, CV and letter writing as well as taking part in self-esteem and discrimination awareness workshops. Throughout the project they are mentored to monitor their progress and help them on their way to finding the confidence to get back into work.

So far, five men from the project have found jobs as a result of their new-found confidence, while two more are considering self-employment, as a gardener and an artist.

Talking about the project’s success, Martin said:

“The project has helped many gay men who also have other barriers to employment. Many of our members are over 50 years old and they not only lack the confidence to look for work because of their sexuality, but they also feel their age will hold them back in today’s job market. Essentially they have a double disadvantage, and consequently have become more and more isolated.

“Many gay men want to get back into work, but don’t know where to start. As a result they become disempowered and it is our job to give them back a sense of self-belief so they can look to the future positively with a ‘can-do’ attitude.”

Teresa Addinell, regional Skills Development Director at the Learning and Skills Council West Midlands, said:
“This ESF-backed project is helping to tackle the discrimination that gay and bisexual men still face when it comes to entering the job market in today’s society, by giving them the skills and confidence they need to look for work and apply for jobs. It is important that funding from the community grants scheme remains active to continue to support those who need it most.”

For further information on the Coaching for Employment project, please contact Martin Hogg on 0800 021 7613