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We asked Brian Macken from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:

Brian Macken

Science Communicator

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Brian Macken

I would strongly advise you to do the Masters in Science Communication in DCU. It really gives you a feel for the different kinds of media and ways of explaining things. And it's a good place to make contacts, which is also useful.

I would also recommend that you read science books. Not textbooks, good popular science books are just as useful for this kind of work, as it's already been broken down into simpler language for you. And only read the ones that you're interested in - it shouldn't be a chore to read them.

But I would recommend reading outside your subject area, so if you're into physics, then read some books on biology and vice versa (everyone should read Stephen J. Gould).  However, the more knowledge you have, the more questions you'll be able to answer.

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Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Occupation Details

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Parliamentary Assistant - EU

Job Zone

Education
Most occupations in this zone require job specific training (vocational training) related to the occupation (NFQ Levels 5 and 6 or higher), related on-the-job experience, or a relevant professional award.

Related Experience
Previous work-related skills, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, several years of full or part-time employment in the area may suffice.

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These occupations usually involve using communication and organisational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include restaurant managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, hairdressers, and web developers.

€31k >
Parliamentary Assistant - EU
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€31 -
Related Information:
MEPs can choose their own staff within a budget set by Parliament.

Accredited assistants, based in Brussels(or Luxembourg/Strasbourg) are administered directly by Parliament’s administration, under the conditions of employment for non-permanent EU staff.

Pay commences on Grade 1 (€2,654 monthy) of the 16 point pay-scale.

Assistants’ contracts are managed by the parliamentary authorities in accordance with the Assistant’s Statute. Expenses and a per diem are paid by parliamentary authorities in addition to the salary.

Assistants based in MEPs’ Member States are handled by qualified paying agents, guaranteeing the proper tax and social security arrangements.
Data Source(s):
Official Journal of the European Union & EPSO

Last Updated: April, 2015

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Works as assistant to an MEP elected to the European Parliament.


Videos & Interviews header image

1Total Records:1

Kevin Keary
Parliamentary Assistant
Kevin Keary is Parliamentary Assistant to MEP Sean Kelly. He recieved his BA International in Spanish and Sociological Political Studies from NUI Galway. His job is based in Brussels where he has worked on projects such as the International Fund for Ireland.
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The Work header image

There are about 1,500 assistants who assist MEPs. Parliamentary Assistants undertake a variety of work, reflecting the particular interests and engagement of their MEP. The following wide-ranging activities are typical of the work involved in this role:

  • Management of the Brussels office with high volume and complex administration
  • Providing secretarial and office support to MEP, including: managing and responding to mail; managing MEP’s diary; responding to information requests; booking meetings; organising travel arrangements; and providing general office support
  • Drafting, coordinating, political strategy and lobbying work to influence relevant legislation via Parliamentary Committees and plenaries
  • Liaising with researchers of the political group, staff in the constituency office, Brussels-based NGOs and delegations, and other institutions
  • Speech writing and press work as appropriate
  • Desk research for reports, speeches, Parliamentary questions/letters and constituent queries
  • Recruitment, management and training of stagiaires
  • Organising and overseeing group visits, seminars and receptions
  • Administering and overseeing expenditure of budget line for publications


Personal Qualitiesheader image

The tasks of Parliamentary Assistants vary enormously and are typically a mixture of several roles, from secretary-advisor-press-officer to tour guide for visitors, all rolled into one.

This multitasking job role requires flexibility, ability to react fast and adapt quickly, and patience, as well as language skills, good time management skills, organisational skills and problem solving.


Entry Routesheader image

Parliamentary assistants are selected at the discretion of each sitting MEP, as a result no strict qualification framework is applicable.

MEPs

Each of the 751 MEPs elected to the European Parliament work with at least two Parliamentary Assistants.

The employment of Parliamentary Assistants is the responsibility of each sitting MEP.  

If you are interested in working for an MEP, do some research and identify those MEPs you think you would like to work with, taking into account their political affiliations, interests and background etc., and then contact them directly.

It is also worth looking beyond Ireland when applying for these roles.  Irish graduates have worked successfully as Assistants to MEPs from different Member States.  This can allow you to make the most of your language skills or an expertise background in a certain field which matches the profile of a specific MEP.

See the European Parliament's website for information about Parliamentary Assistants working for Members of the European Parliament.

Also, the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland is available here.

Political Groups

Another pathway for those wanting to work in the European Parliament is through the Political Groups. Each European Political Group employs research and administrative staff as well as offering their own traineeships.  Vacancies for these positions are generally advertised on the group's websites.

See the individual websites of the Political Groups for specific information about their own recruitment procedures.

 

Last Updated: July, 2014


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Organisation: EU Careers - European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO)
Address: Candidate Contact Service, Office C-80 00/40, B1049 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 299 3131
Email: Click here
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Organisation: European Movement Ireland
Address: 8 Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2,
Tel: (0)1 662 5815
Email: Click here
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Organisation: European Parliament Information Office in Ireland
Address: 43, Molesworth Street, Dublin, 2
Tel: 01 - 605 7900
Email: Click here
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Organisation: European Parliament Information Office in Ireland
Address: 43, Molesworth Street, Dublin, 2
Tel: 01 - 605 7900
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Organisation: EU Jobs Ireland
Address: Department of the Taoiseach, Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
Tel: 00 353 1 619 4335
Email: Click here
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Civil & Public Service, Local Government, Politics & EU

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