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The European labour market is for everyone
Ask Andersen, a Danish politician who strives to improve the rights of people with disabilities through his work in the European Economic and Social Committee, is visually impaired. This has not prevented him from having an international career, studying in Ireland and working as a policy officer in Belgium.
“Being disabled could mean that you need some support to do certain tasks. And for that you might need to connect to the social security system. Questions such as: Can I have an assistant? Can I get financial support for technical devices? I need to know the answers to these questions before making promises to a potential employer about what I’m capable of doing,” explains Ask Andersen.
Everyone faces challenges when they want to work and establish a new life abroad. However, for people with disabilities trans-national mobility throws up additional challenges to which there is no universal solution. Having access to information on a country’s social security laws, which regulate the support available in terms of human assistance or technical devices, could prove invaluable.
The EURES network can be one tool in obtaining this information. It consists of 850 EURES advisers, strategically placed all over Europe. They work with job matching, both at a national and European level, and can provide jobseekers with information on working and living conditions or refer them to reliable sources.
Going abroad to work was a natural step for Ask Andersen. “The vast majority of my fellow students of political science went abroad for internships or permanent positions. So why shouldn’t I? I don’t mean to neglect the challenge it poses to go abroad when you are blind, but there is no other alternative than trying. When I first went abroad for an internship I realised that I was perfectly capable of doing it. Then I got bold enough to search for a job in another country, which I successfully got.”