Dept of Education & Skills / Civil Service
I joined the Civil Service after graduating from National University of Ireland, Galway with a Bachelor of Commerce (International with German) and was placed in the Internal Audit Unit of the Department of Education and Skills (DES). This was the perfect section to start out in as it gave me a great overview of the Department as a whole. I was given a lot of responsibility in my first role and even got the chance to undertake an audit on my own. Although I was nervous at first, I received lots of support from my managers and was never left to feel alone at any stage. The audit involved interviewing the heads of the section, writing up my findings and recommendations and eventually compiling the final audit report. I felt a great sense of achievement when sending off the finished product to be bound!
After 18 months I was asked to join the Minister’s Office. This was a huge change from Internal Audit but was one that I embraced. Work in the Minister’s Office is very varied – you never know what might land on your desk from one day to the next! Predominantly, I deal with priority correspondence for the Minister, collate briefings for weekly Cabinet meetings, assist in the preparation of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and deal with queries from members of the public. I also deputise for the Private Secretary which involves working closely with the Minister either in the Department or, when the Dáil is sitting, in Leinster House. A typical day in Leinster House is usually extremely busy and very diverse which keeps me on my toes! Working in the Minister’s Office has also afforded me the opportunity to work in the Department’s Press Office for a number of weeks which was a challenging and thoroughly enjoyable experience.
But it’s not all work and no play! There’s a good social aspect to the Department and I’ve made great friends over the past few years. For future graduates thinking of joining the Civil Service, I would not only recommend it as a place of work, but as a place where you will obtain exceptional experience, enjoy a good social scene and receive excellent training and support.