European Commission Directorate for International Cooperation and Development
I completed a BA in politics and history in University College Dublin. European politics was a passionate interest and motivated my choice of Master’s at the College of Europe in Bruges. My postgraduate studies have highlighted the important role played by the EU, along with the many career prospects it presents to young graduates interests in this field.
The occasion to first gain practical professional experience of EU affairs arrived when I had an Erasmus placement in Brussels, working with consultancy firm FleishmanHillard. This was a great way to combine an Erasmus year with valuable professional experience. Working in an exciting public affairs environment, I got a great insight into European institutions and procedures. Moreover, it gave me a positive first impression of the day-to-day realities of work in Brussels.
Following this experience, I took advantage of another chance to work with EU affairs. During my final year at UCD I worked closely with the European Personnel Selection Office in Brussels and the EU Division of the Department of An Taoiseach, as I undertook the position of EU Career ambassador in UCD. Promoting EU jobs was a great way to learn more about the vast range of opportunities available to Irish graduates across European Institutions and Agencies.
One of the most popular EU graduate job routes in Brussels, and one that I pursued, is the Traineeship at the European Commission, also known as the ‘Blue Book’. In each session around 40 Irish graduates are selected, and fortunately I am one of the lucky ones to be starting in October 2015 in Directorate for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO). I look forward to starting this experience soon and getting a taste for life inside the European Commission!
Based upon my experiences so far I would highly recommend Irish graduates to consider the route of EU careers. I think that there is a great appetite for employing young Irish in Brussels, particularly as we are native English speakers! There are so many options available so the best advice that I can give is to apply for all traineeships that might interest you, across all the EU institutions and agencies, keeping your options open.