Project Coordinator, Aisha
Last month, we learned what it’s like to be an electronic engineer. As Sexual Health Awareness Week took place this month, we asked Aisha from Terrence Higgins Trust to feature in our Job Dreams series this time round.
Keep reading to find out what it’s like to work for a charity and how she found her way in the world of work...
What do you do?
I’m the BME (black minority ethnic) Communities Project Coordinator for Britain’s leading HIV and sexual health charity, Terrence Higgins Trust in Brighton. (I’m also finalist for Miss Voluptuous Pageant 2019!)
Are there different types of Project Coordinators?
Depending on the organisation you work for a project coordinator can be responsible for many different tasks. As the project I coordinate is all about promoting good sexual health amongst BME communities a lot of my work involves going out and speaking to people about the importance of sexual health.
My role sits within the Health Improvement Team, within which there are various roles all with the same overall goal of improving health.
Can you tell us what your day-to-day is like?
The role is multifaceted so I have a number of hats. Thankfully, I look good in a hat!
I do a lot of work with the local communities in Brighton. I go to various places including barbershops, beauty salons, colleges, universities and community centres to talk about the importance of having regular HIV and STI tests. I also try to speak to as many people as I can about the importance of maintaining overall good sexual health.
I’m also a trained Assistant Practitioner so I have days where I work in our clinic conducting Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea screenings.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the fact that I have the opportunity to truly make a difference in my community.
Sexual health is so important and BME Communities are often left behind in terms of engagement and access for various reasons. I love that this job gives me the opportunity to try to change the disparity.
I also love the fact that I get to speak on issues that I’m very passionate about. For example, I featured on a BBC podcast where I spoke about the ‘It Starts With Me’ campaign, and the importance of getting tested and effective treatment.
What do you find most challenging?
Often it can be difficult to put into practice all of the dreams you come into a project like this with, I’ve learned that great successes within my role will take time, and patience is not exactly one of my virtues!
What did you see yourself doing when you were a kid?
Honestly, I thought I would be in the entertainment industry or a social worker (I edged my bets because I knew I was no Beyoncé!)
What challenges did you face in reaching where you are today?
Confidence in my own ability has always been a struggle. But pageantry, modelling and having a great team around me has helped me to improve that.
If you weren’t a Project Coordinator, what do you think you’d be?
I would like to think I would still be in a job that makes a difference to people's lives, perhaps still in my old position in adult social services.
Where do you see yourself going next?
I hope to make my project as successful as possible and I hope to make my mark on the world, not just in Brighton but UK wide and hopefully internationally.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first left school?
Your career path will be full of unfortunate twists and turns, but your ability to make a difference will be the thing that gets you far.
What advice would you give to someone interested in joining your industry?
To do it, apply, volunteer, give your all and get into the swing of it. This industry is genuinely so much fun and it really does change lives.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given?
To take time, affecting change does not happen overnight, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen.
What quote do you live by?
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure ...as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.” - Marianne Williamson