The EHC is delighted to announce our new youth initiative, the Youth Fellowship Programme!
The EHC works hard to invest in patient advocacy and developing leadership skills for the future. This is why we have built a comprehensive youth leadership strategy that annually takes young leaders on a journey from the EHC Youth Leadership Workshops in April, to the EHC Leadership Conference in June and culminates in the EHC Conference in October, where several of our young patient leaders take the stage to debate key topics against established community leaders.
Concretely speaking, at the workshop in April young leaders between the ages of 21-30 receive training on the European patient advocacy environment, tackling blocks on volunteerism, patient-stakeholder roles and responsibilities, and how to be a strategic and effective patient partner. In June we bring our youth leaders together with established patient leaders, paid patient organisation staff and other volunteers from across Europe, and start them on hands-on patient organisation work and discussions. In October they are able to attend the full EHC Conference and some of them are given the responsibility of defending a position publicly, having researched and prepared beforehand.
We are very proud of our youth strategy and we have witnessed the strength & power of the energy, enthusiasm and engagement from our youth community in Europe. For this reason, we believe it is time to build the next step in this strategy.
Our goal has always been to get our trainees to work, to keep them motivated, engaged and feeling useful! Through the Youth Fellowship Programme we hope we can:
- Maintain & grow their active engagement with each other and with our community across borders
- Focus their cross-border attention and efforts towards a concrete and useful communal goal
- Allow them to develop their own area of work or pick up one proposed by the EHC
In this way, we see our young leaders developing real hands-on experience and at the same time contributing in the right way to the European community. We envisage doing this by enabling the creation of a pool of young project teams, comprised of young EHC event alumni, aged between 25-35, to take the lead on key projects and areas of work that are necessary at cross-national or European levels.
So how will this work?
The EHC have established an online roster of one-two year projects which is available to view here. Any community member can propose projects to add to the roster at any time, which the EHC Steering Committee will review and approve on a rolling basis and we will continue to announce new projects on our website.
The projects will be cross-national in scope, working towards a concrete outcome, and benefitting more than just one country. Importantly the projects will not over-lap with existing work being done in the European patient community. We will also seek the approval of the respective patient organisations in order to ensure that our work compliments work being carried out in the community.
The project teams will be comprised of up to four young EHC alumni (e.g. individuals aged between 25-35 years who have previously been trained in the Youth Leadership workshop and/or other training events). In each project team at least two European countries must be represented.
Each project team member will be required to complete an application form which will be reviewed by the EHC. The application can be for a project of their own choice or from the roster of projects available from the EHC.
The project team and project work will be supervised and monitored by the EHC. The EHC will only provide a structure and a framework for guidance, support and oversight. Project teams will be invited to develop their own project plans, timelines, budget proposals, and roles and responsibilities. The budget will be managed by the project team but will be controlled by the EHC.
Upon completion, project teams will receive a certificate and reference letter from the EHC, which can be used towards the Youth Alumni’s professional credentials, including for job applications or to run for leadership positions in their national organisations.
We look forward to working with our future community leaders on these projects!!
The Youth Fellowship Programme is made possible thanks to an educational grant from Alnylam