Caroline Nokes has become the first MP to take part in a UK wide scheme – Me & My Shadow – encouraging young women with epilepsy to think big in their careers and not to be limited by their condition.
Me & My Shadow is run by the Epilepsy Society, a charity that transforms lives through world-leading research, advocacy and care. Caroline is chair of the Women and Equalities Committee in Parliament and was one of the first to sign up for the scheme that matches women with mentors in politics, the arts, media, science and business.
On Friday, Caroline spent the day mentoring 19-year-old Nicole Creasey from Southampton who was able to experience, first hand, what life is like for an MP outside of parliament.
Nicole has uncontrolled epilepsy and can have up to seven seizures a day. She says that living and working with epilepsy can be difficult but shadowing Caroline helped her to think more about the future and her career goals.
As well as spending time at Caroline’s office in Romsey, Hampshire, Nicole joined the MP for a site visit to a local National Grid where she learnt about important infrastructure projects and how an MP can champion them.
"I had a brilliant day shadowing Caroline,” said Nicole. “It really helped me to learn more about the different types of career opportunities out there. It was a lot of fun visiting the National Grid site, too.”
Caroline admits that she learned a lot about epilepsy, too, during the day.
“It was a great opportunity to have Nicole shadowing me for the day,” she said. “I hope she found the day interesting, but importantly I discovered an enormous amount from her, about living with epilepsy and how it impacts her. Epilepsy is a condition I felt I knew too little about, so I am very grateful to the Epilepsy Society for facilitating this opportunity.”
Nicola Swanborough, Head of External Affairs at the Epilepsy Society, said: “This is the third year that we have run our Me & My Shadow scheme and we are really grateful to Caroline for being part of it. People with epilepsy have one of the lowest employment rates of all disabilities and health conditions and we hope that this important scheme will encourage young women to be ambitious in their career goals.”
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