The European Multiple Sclerosis Platform (EMSP) has launched Believe and Achieve, its programme of paid internships for young people with MS.
Eleven internships are currently being advertised, each lasting between six and twelve months.
The first two interns are already in post. Anna Zaghi is working near Milano in Italy, while Ionna Christodoulidou is working in project management in Athens, Greece.
Anna says: “This internship means a lot to me because I know that I will work in a setting in which I won’t be afraid to disclose my disease. My employers are aware of my condition and they know that once a month I need to go to the hospital for treatment, and it’s up to me whether to disclose the disease to my colleagues”.
Believe and Achieve Project Coordinator Emma Rogan says: “We are seeking more businesses who believe in putting ability before disability. And, of course, we are kindly inviting applications from young people with MS who want to start their careers in inclusive work environments.”
The first set of internships are based in eight European countries: Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. These positions are aimed at young people with MS living in the countries where the internships are based.
In 2014, EMSP ran a survey among 1,300 young people (18-35 years) living with MS in Europe. Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) said they were either employed or doing voluntary work.
The main challenge for those already working is that, without proper support at the workplace, young people with MS risk ending their professional careers way early. The Work Foundation study Fit for Work shows that 80 per cent of them usually stop working within 15 years of the onset of the condition.
How to apply
Young people (18-35) with MS living in Europe can read the job descriptions and apply online via the EMSP website.
EMSP will review the applications and liaise with the corporate partners about the interviews, then guide the successful candidates through the entire process, including offering individual coaching and monitoring their progress throughout the internship.