College is Very Supportive of Mitch’s Ehlers Danlos Syndrome

 Mitch’s career is on the up swing after graduation. He landed a good job in spite of his challenges with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

The future is looking bright for Mitch Gregory. He’s got a good job at Frome Community College and is on the road to a successful career.

But Mitch is very different to other 21-year-olds. As well as juggling full-time work with caring for his mother and sister, he has a debilitating health condition to contend with.

He said: “My mum, my sister and I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), which is a rare genetic condition affecting the collagen in the body.

“As well as joint and bone problems, it can interfere with the way internal organs, nerves and muscles work. My sister uses a wheelchair and my mum a walking aid as she has become painfully stiff. So far I’ve had less severe symptoms, but we all suffer with pain and doing everyday tasks is incredibly tiring.”

Despite health setbacks, Mitch is an example of determination paying dividends.

“I didn’t do as well as I could have in my GCSEs,” he said. “So I had to work extra hard at college to get the UCAS points I needed for university.”

Mitch ended up with the highest marks in his IT class at Norton Radstock College. He went on to attain a First Class degree in Management Systems through Bath Spa University. However, getting a job was not straightforward.

He said: “I found filling in application forms really difficult. I had rejections and when I got job interviews, I was nervous and shaking. I realised I needed help.”

Mitch turned to the Carers’ Centre, where career specialist Clive Brooks helped him to understand what employers were looking for.

He said: “Clive’s an expert in helping people find the right work and I felt I could talk to him about my aspirations. He was so supportive, practising interview techniques with me and checking over my application forms.

“After Clive’s help, I got an interview at Frome College. This time I felt totally different; I was calm, more confident and better prepared. I was so pleased when they offered me the post of junior IT technician. It’s a great job with good prospects and it’s exactly right for me.”

The college is very supportive of Mitch’s caring role and health.

He said: “The college is a great place to work; I can ask for help anytime I need it. I tire easily as I tend to do too much. My life’s measured out in coffee spoons as I know I can only do so much.”

But Mitch’s life is always stressful. He said: “I’m so used to being a carer now I couldn’t cope if things were different. I don’t go to the pub all the time like my friends, or sit in front of the TV. There isn’t time! Luckily, I have an understanding girlfriend who I met through Young Carers. She is a carer too so we have a lot in common.”

Mitch doesn’t know how EDS will affect him long term. He said: “No one looking at me can tell I have EDS or realise what life is like for me as a carer. Though my life’s complicated, I’m happy taking everything in my stride.”

Carers in the UK can access support from the Carers’ Centre.

Mitch deserves this great opportunity to serve as an IT professional. 

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